A third option in taxing debate

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Our community is in the midst of a polarizing debate between those who want to maintain/increase taxes for local governments to provide services to the community and those who want to reduce taxes to let people keep more of their money. 

I'll suggest a third option: People who want to use to use their money to help others can donate to charity. Those who aren't sure which charities are most effective can look to the recommendations from charity evaluators that research this question. For example, GiveWell and The Life You Can Save offer short lists of their most heavily-researched, high-impact opportunities. Impact Matters and the Center for High Impact Philanthropy provide longer lists for donors who want more choice. Charity Navigator provides analysis of charity financials and some other areas, though it doesn't evaluate the quality of the programs themselves. 

Eric Friedman 

Oak Park 

Author of "Reinventing Philanthropy: A Framework for More Effective Giving"

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Dave Slade from Oak Park  

Posted: December 27th, 2019 1:45 PM

Welcome to the world of Government Accounting. In Year 1, gov't needs $1. In that year, gov't spends the $1, and needs $1.50. Surprisingly, the budget passes by "the board" and the increase gets passed on to the taxpayers because the taxpayers didn't vote on it, the board did. In Year 2, the board gets $1.50, spends it and realizes it needs $2 in Year 3. Again, the board passes it and the increase gets passed on to the taxpayers. The $2 gets spent in Year 3, and in Year 4, gov't has to ask for $2.50, not because they "need" it, but because they can't ask for less. That means that they could get by with less, but that is not how gov't works. So in Year 4, gov't gets the $2.50 and then starts spending it on things that aren't necessarily needed, but that $2.50 needs to be spent so that in Year 5, gov't can ask for $3. Again it passes because who approves it? The board. And on, and on, and on, and on until it becomes unsustainable, and all the while, the board continues to demand more and more for things that aren't needed. For example, a rec center. We have a YMCA, walking tracks, a tennis center, two pools, and probably other facilities I can't think of right now. Not to mention heated sidewalks on Marion. Or a quarter-billion dollar renovation of OPRF (with a shiny, new pool that was already voted down once. Don't get me started on that). And TIF districts that restrict tax revenue to those that need revenue the most - schools. And for what reason? To increase salaries, pensions, administrators, equity police, etc. Happy New Year!

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 27th, 2019 12:30 PM

Bruce Kline I wrote a long comment agreeing with Tom MacMillan although you have it exactly right. They just can not quit and it is time to remove these board members one by one so they can stop effecting the community. Time to take not of who each one is and never let them back to get a taste of the drug

Bruce Kline  

Posted: December 27th, 2019 12:07 PM

Tom my view is what is happening here is akin to addictive behavior: the addict wants to stop but just can't; and in fact often needs more opioids. And so it is with our taxes. Our boards all say they want to reduce taxes but just can't; in fact they increase our taxes instead.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 27th, 2019 11:55 AM

Tom MacMillan I think people in Oak Park would like to have their taxes reduced although they really do not understand it. Kitty Conklin has the sign the petition although I have no idea what that is suppose to do. The only best chance to stop tax increases in to actually go to each board and ask what is in it for me, because there is certainly some thing in it for them. It may be they feel they are making Oak Park better and hope to some day have their name listed some where as being the one that made the change. No change gets you nothing any more. You probably have been in Oak Park long enough to know that Oak Park use to spend the tax dollars although never needed more since it was the standard to not increase things that were not affordable. Look around and ask what has really changed other then the high rises and congestion, and a school system that denies the facts of education and fills it with more programs for teachers who should be spending time teaching. Maybe teaching even has changed and that may be the result of grade levels although that does not explain why certain groups do better than others. That is not the schools problem to change family dynamics. It is the schools job to educated and have additional classes for students who want additional help. I will sum it up with one simple example. A person was drafter in the Military. He use to rob store owners with a shot gun although never had shells since he knew he did not want to go up for murder. After spending thousands of dollars of training this individual, he was deemed unfit. He could never get with the program except one time and that was during the POW training which was very real and physical. That he could understand although it was to late. He was gone and probably sent back to prison since the Military did not work out for him

Tom MacMillan from OAK PARK  

Posted: December 27th, 2019 10:03 AM

No one wants to reduce taxes here in Oak Park, though they get labelled that way. Reduction is never going to happen. People do want to stop INCREASING the taxes with new projects and neat ideas, which are in unlimited supply. Somehow the most generous taxpayers in the entire state get portrayed by some here as if they were far right for simply wanting to stop the madness and take a breather on the taking of more and more.

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