this might pinch a little

Whenever my ex-dentist used to say that, I cringed and prepared for an excruciating pain. And oh did it hurt! I learned later, after that dentist had left for “other opportunities”, that he had been doing the procedure wrong the entire time, and the new dentist demonstrated the same procedure with me hardly noticing anything. Still I was scarred, and those false words of promise buried themselves deep inside me.

You can hear the same empty mantra from elected officials. Taxes go up and “its for the kids”. Surely every single tax dollar that is sucked out of our wallets is used for mutually beneficial and good things. Right? Why are you looking at me like that?

While I will focus mostly on the schools, I am going to blame two distinct groups of people; 1) officials, leaders, legislators, policy-makers and every other cherry chum that sees taxes as free money, and 2) you and me and everyone else who lets them get away with this inexcusable atrocity.

Let us take a little spin down TIF lane. TIF, Tax-Increment Financing, sounds innocuous enough – or perhaps, more realistically, vapid and vacuous, as it doesn’t really say much of what it is doing. Read the rest of this entry »

Whom do tax rebates truly help?

re: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/politics-and-government/2012-04-30/champaign-council-consider-rebate-proposed-hotel.html

I have been reading “The Great American Jobs Scam” (hat tip to Pattsi Petrie). If what Greg LeRoy says is accurate and precise, red flags and klaxon alarms start going off in my head when I hear about any kind of tax incentive that purports to “bring in new business”. The NUMBER ONE big thing, to me, is the need for transparency and accountability. These two are inseparable. And I want to clarify that I am not opposed to tax incentives in and of themselves – rather it is the need to know exactly where our money is going and why. It is the fundamental rule of being fiscally responsible and having a budget. If one cannot account for the flow of money, one is not mature enough to handle it, IMO.

 

As such, I have sent the following email to the Board (and I carbon copied Dr. Wiegand and Mr. Gene Logas):

Good morning, Members of the Board,

In regards to a News-Gazette article about a new proposal to bring in a hotel to downtown Champaign, the City is planning to offer substantial tax rebates. I am not certain if school board members typically get involved in such discussions or not, but I urge the Board to get involved if they are not. It is my understanding that such a new tax rebate, if put into effect, will further reduce monies coming into the school system. It is not such much that this is a “big evil plan”, but rather this is just one more example of how public tax dollars are funneled into the hands of corporate interests and away from our children. I know each of you care very much about education and all the students, and I thank you for fighting for them.