Suburbs must standup to Chicago’s Tax Grab

Suburbs must standup to Chicago’s Tax Grab
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Suburbs must standup to Chicago’s Tax Grab

Forcing suburbanites to help cover the budgetneeds of Chicago has always been a problem with Chicagoland politics. It needs to stop. It’s not that I don’t like Chicago. I Love Chicago. I was born there. But like most people born there, I fled to crime, the taxes and the corrupt politics for the suburbs. The suburbs need to organize and confront this continuing trend.

Originally published in The Regional News Newspaper, Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Reporter Newspapers  03-06-19.

By Ray Hanania

The idea of forcing suburbanites, most of whom fled from Chicago’s corruption, crime and deterioration decades ago, has been a common theme among Chicago’s political leadership.

In the early 1980s, forcing suburbanites to pay for Chicago’s failings was about the only issue in which columnist Mike Royko agreed with the city’s corrupt, controversial leadership. He proposed in his columns that the suburbs underwrite the costs of improving the crime-ridden, failed CTA system. He attacked me when I told him to keep his stinky, wrapped dead fish on his side of the border – Royko even fled moving to Winnetka before he died in 1997.

It was no different during the Chicago Mayoral elections last week. There was no shortage of “tax the suburbs” rhetoric among the 14 candidates to pull Chicago out of its ugly financial mess.

Geese blocking road in the suburbs. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Geese blocking road in the suburbs. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Garry McCarthy proposed annexing suburbs like Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park, and gutting their coffers.

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Bill Daley said suburbanites who work in Chicago should pay a special tax.

Toni Preckwinkle continued to advocate a tax-the-suburbs mantra never apologizing for her countywide sales tax proposals and soda pop tax.

Lori Lightfoot offered as the starting point that suburban rideshare drivers who work in the city be taxed.

The idea of Chicagoans taxing the suburbs reflects a lack of leadership and courage. Chicago politicians don’t want to anger their voters by proposing taxes. So they throw out in the “tax the suburbs” mantra like chum in Lake Michigan.

This is just the tip of the “tax the suburbs” iceberg. Residents of Chicago should pay for their own problems, and they are not doing enough. So what do the suburbs do? Just sit back like wimps and do nothing, like we always have? Let Chicago control the County, the State and our wallets?

I don’t get why suburban leaders are afraid of Chicago, a cesspool of crime and fear. Every one is trying to leave Chicago because or the growing problems.

Part of the problem is the media, dominated by Chicago news organizations that rely on the city’s crime, tragedies and fear to create headlines that “sell newspapers.”

But a lot of the problem falls back laziness and fear of Chicago voters. Crime is at outrageous levels, but they seem to blame it all on everyone else. Not themselves. Not on their children. Not on their schools. Many live among and see the criminals and street gang members, but remain silent, preferring to blame everything on the Chicago Police.

Chicago is where it is at because Chicagoans are not carrying their own weight.

Look at Chicago’s voter turnout. The biased Chicago media reported only 33.5 percent of Chicago’s 1.5 million registered voters voted. But that’s not the real problem. Chicago has 2.1 million residents who are 18 years of age or older who can vote, but only 71 percent actually register. That means that only 23.8 percent of Chicagoans who qualify to vote actually bother to register.

I think voter registration in Chicago’s cemeteries is higher!

Blame the suburbs for that pathetic apathy? And then tax the suburbs to fill the city’s gaping holes caused by corruption, crime, absence of courage, and the city’s failing school system?

People are not just leaving Chicago, they are fleeing Cook County and Illinois. Chicago and its burdens are the cancer causing that flight.

The Suburbs need to take a stand. Leaders in the Chicagoland suburbs need to convene an Emergency Summit to stand together as one voice against people like Preckwinkle and others who want to solve Chicago’s problems by stealing hard earned wages from suburbanites.

We need to take control of the Cook County Board. We need to stop looking at this as a partisan challenge between Republicans and Democrats. The differences between Republicans and Democrats at the county level are non-existent and we should define our leaders based on the wide divisions that separate the two failed parties at the national level.

The suburbs have the vote. They have the motivation to stand up to Chicago. But do we have courageous leaders to do what needs to be done?

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Click Here to LISTEN to Hanania's live radio show on 2nd Friday every month 7 AM CST. Click here to listen to Ray's Podcasts. 

His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at rghanania@gmail.com.

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