Rauner gets it right naming Gorman as Tollway chief
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner taps Liz Gorman to had the Illinois Tollway, a brilliant move that both helps the State of Illinois and his administration. Gorman, a former Cook County Commissioner, is a champion for fighting excessive tax increases and fighting for the rights of taxpayers. That only strengthens Rauner’s agenda and goals
By Ray Hanania
When I first met Bruce Rauner in 2015, I really though he had his act together. But the past three years have been turmoil focused on the state’s problems.
Last week, though, he did something to change that, tapping a real talent to head one of the state agencies that he controls, someone I admire.
Rauner backed Liz Gorman to head the Illinois Tollways, a $1.43 billion dollar agency. After serving 13 years on the Cook County board where she became the face of the anti-tax hike movement, Gorman took a very high paying job in the private sector at Price Waterhouse. But now she’s leaving that job to return to public service, bringing with her a lot of experience fighting high taxes.
Dedicated to streamlining Cook County government and an advocate for creating economic opportunities for constituents, Gorman earned a solid reputation as a problem-solver who could bring diverse groups together and build consensus.
Gorman’s public service also includes leading and serving on numerous Cook County committees including transportation, environmental, finance, IT, rules, audit, recreation, roads and bridges, health and hospitals, labor along with several other committees. She also oversaw the county’s $4 billion budget and a $200 million Forest Preserve District budget.
During her time on the Cook County Board, Gorman was a constant voice challenging unnecessary tax hikes. She opposed the “Hotel Occupancy Tax” and the “Food and Beverage Tax” in 2003, the 150% cigarette tax increase in 2004 and the additional 100% increase in 2006. She opposed the “Food and Beverage Tax” and the “Hotel Occupancy Tax” again in 2007, and she opposed the “Sanctuary County” resolution for illegal immigrants in 2007 and sponsored a repeal of the ordinance later that year and most recently she voted against Board President Todd Stroger’s 2008 budget and opposed the increase in the Cook County sales tax.
I remember organizing a tax forum many years back and her voice was one of the loudest championing taxpayer rights.
Her greatest achievement came on December 1, 2009 when she forced the county board to rollback President Todd Stroger’s sales tax hike and then organized a non-partisan coalition to block Stroger’s veto.
The end result was that Gorman cut the county sales tax from 1.75 percent to 1.25 percent.
Some do-nothing former county commissioners continue to attack her but the voters were discouraged when she retired.
Gorman was succeeded by Sean Morrison, the Palos Township committeeman. Morrison has followed in the path set by Gorman, and he organized the successful repeal of Toni Preckwinkle’s oppressive one cent per ounce tax on sweetened drinks and soda pop. The public outrage was so overwhelming that even seven of her eight supporters flipped and reversed their votes, thanks to Morrison.
With Gorman coming back, taxpayers in Cook County and Illinois will have another champion fighting for their rights.
Morrison faces a challenge from pro-Preckwinkle tax-hikers who don’t care about taxpayers but the real challenge is can he survive? Is he strong enough to hold the seat? SOme question his ability, not being as strong or popular as Gorman. The Gorman appointment of Morrison faces a challenge from extremists who can’t get enough votes to do anything so they bully, yell and disrupt meetings hoping they can impose their unpopular views on the majority.
Taxpayers in Illinois are tired of answering every problem and every need by hiking taxes. The worst are taxes are those that are “percentages.” As costs go up the percentage taxes like the sales taxes increase dramatically on the backs of taxpayers.
Gorman and others who oppose taxes need help. It’s good to see Gorman back on the front lines of public service fighting for the rights of the taxpayers.
(Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall reporter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)