The Private Intellectual
Ecclesiastes-Based Real Estate Advice

Wednesday, March 09, 2011  

Tribune Editorial Translator
No Some New Taxes Edition

Ah, Tribune editorials, how I have missed you.

What they said:

John Cullerton, president of the Illinois Senate, committed a dreadful sin Monday. During a speech that could have been titled "State Finance 101," the Chicago Democrat briefly mentioned that if Illinois taxed retirement income, Springfield would collect some $1.6 billion a year.

Can you believe that? A politician dared to mention taxing a powerful voting bloc!

What it meant: Pencils down, everyone--we've found the answer to the state's budget woes. Replace 'income' with 'voting bloc' and you can tax away. I don't know why we didn't think of this sooner, frankly. Taxing all the voters was bad, but if you tax some of the voters, it's a bloc and so taxing them is good.

What they said:

We have disagreed with Cullerton when he has been a prime mover in the tax-and-spend Springfield agenda that we've described as "Splurge. Borrow. Repeat."

What it meant: Well, I thought that was clever.

What they said:

But to the extent that his intent Monday was to say Illinois needs to cull its herd of sacred cows, then we applaud his beginning a difficult discussion with the citizens of this state.

What it meant: Do we still get to use the phrase 'sacred cows'? Check with legal. Also, what are sacred cows doing when they're not being culled? A question for the sabbatical.

What they said:

He noted that broadening the tax base in this fashion could allow the state to lower the income tax rate — which he just helped to raise to 5 percent. If Cullerton wants to talk about a broader tax base, revenue neutrality, lower rates and more fairness for all citizens, then we want to hear what he has to say.

What it meant: Time to cull the sacred bloc of cow voters and distribute their precious sweetbreads to the rest of the herd. Hey, who let 'revenue neutrality' in here? This was supposed to be about raising cash for the budget and now we're lowering rates, because more taxes on blocs can mean less taxes on everyone.

What they said:

Cullerton has indicated that he would exempt low-income seniors, and those with "modest pensions," and those who rely only on Social Security, and those over 65. Who's left? Cullerton said he might want to tax retirees with pensions of more than $100,000.

Trouble is, there aren't enough of those wealthy pensioners to make much of a difference: Taxing pension income above the $100,000 level would raise $70 million a year.

What it meant: Repeat: more fairness for all citizens.

What they said:

Sen. Cullerton, you have a good point. Illinois needs a talk about revising tax policies and rethinking exemptions. Not to grab more from taxpayers,

What it meant: Blocs. Always blocs.

What they said:

but to broaden the tax base as a matter of fairness

What it meant: Our state's creditors will surely accept fairness in payment.

posted by Benjamin Dueholm | 11:44 PM
"Cows. Going around farting everywhere."
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