[Marxism] Fwd: IL Green Party Response to State of the State Address

Alex Briscoe obeynow20001 at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 28 08:34:59 MST 2006

All in all, well done.  It's
worth reading the whole address because Rich points
out the nature of the problem.  I will comment in a
following post.

Alex Briscoe


B) I will be participating in a panel of Green Party
candidates nationwide who have taped responses in
advance to President Bush's State of the Union address
next week. This will be packaged into a collective
Green Response to the address, which will be sent out
to a wide variety of media and made available as a
video stream as well at the GP-US website, gp.org. 
(Yes, I know -- how can we "respond" to something we
haven't heard yet? Well, of course, we have a pretty
good idea what he is going to say, and, besides, this
is really an opportunity to say what we want to say
about the State of the Union, and the sickening
direction in which both corporate parties are leading
us.) I was selected to do the section on energy
issues. Watch for it next week. I will also have a
somewhat longer official statement coming out as well.

Anyway, for your reading pleasure: 

Whitney for Governor 2006 

Jennifer Rose, Campaign Manager: (618) 528-VOTE 

"A Governor in Denial" 

A Green Party Response to Governor Rod Blagojevich's 
2006 State of the State Address 

By Rich Whitney, Illinois Green Party Candidate for

Rod Blagojevich's 2006 State of the State Address was
an exercise in deception. It didn't accurately depict
the true state of our State. It ignored gaping
problems. It contained several "feel good" sounding
proposals but failed to identify the flaws and
shortcomings contained therein. Above all, it failed
to even acknowledge the proverbial "elephant in the
living room" - the joint failure of the Blagojevich
administration and the Illinois State Legislature to
deal with our State's failed system of taxation and
budgeting, which threatens the well-being of future
generations of schoolchildren, college students,
pensioners and taxpayers in general. 

What the speech mainly signifies is that Rod
Blagojevich will try to buy an election victory by
throwing more government dollars that we can't afford
to spend on a few short-term road projects and school
construction projects, while ignoring the impact of
his irresponsible budgetary decisions on future

The Whitney for Governor campaign will do everything
in its power to persuade voters not to fall for such a
ploy. We're like the ant in the
ant-and-the-grasshopper fable. A little hard work now
can help us avoid the folly being urged on us by the
current governor, who is as careless about the future
as the fabled grasshopper. 

What is the real State of the State in 2006? Let's
look at a few realities: 

! The State still has not solved its budget crisis. As
a consequence, state services and programs - from
assisted living facilities to correctional facilities,
to the Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois
Environmental Protection Agency and environmental
programs, to schools and universities, to the
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and
tourism programs, to the Department of Children and
Family Services - are all struggling to make do with
less money, and simply cannot maintain quality
service. The long-term failure to adequately fund the
State's public pension systems means that we will face
deeper budget crises in the years ahead, causing even
deeper cuts and/or broken promises to future
pensioners - unless we enact a major overhaul to our
tax system now. 

! Unemployment remains at unacceptably high levels,
while manufacturing and other high-paying jobs
continue to decline. In 
2004, 12.2 percent of Illinoisans lived below the
national poverty line, as did 17.7 percent of its
children. Since 
1999, median household income in Illinois dropped by
more than 12 percent, the second sharpest decline in
the nation and more than triple the rate of decline

! Despite Governor Blagojevich's highly touted
initiatives to bring health-care to children, the
percentage of Illinoisans lacking any health insurance
coverage stood at 14 percent in 
2004, up from 10.9 percent in 1990. 

! Although Illinois has the fifth-highest Gross State
Product in the nation, it ranks 48th in education
spending. Sixty percent of its funding comes from
property taxes, which has also given Illinois one of
the largest gaps between rich school districts and
poor school districts in the United States. In
2003-04, the highest spending school district in
Illinois spent $19,361 more per pupil than the lowest
spending school district, increasing the gap by $4,000
compared to the year before. More and more school
districts in Illinois are in deficit spending, and the
number of schools facing serious academic performance
problems has risen dramatically. Not surprisingly,
Illinois also has some of the worst school achievement
gaps in the country and the overall performance of its
schools has been mediocre at best. Meanwhile, tuition
and fees at our colleges and universities continue to
climb, making higher education out of the financial
reach of more and more students from working families.


Our tax structure in Illinois is fundamentally unfair,
placing far too much of the tax burden on those least
able to pay - the poor, and low-to-middle income
workers and farmers, and small businesses - while
giving most of the breaks to those most able to pay,
the big corporations and the extremely wealthy. That
is the main reason why our State is underfunded and
cannot balance its budget without causing serious harm
to the quality of life of the people. 

According to a recent study by the Institute on
Taxation and Economic Policy, Illinois is the 6th
worst state in the nation in terms of being
regressive, that is, in terms of taxing lower and
middle-income taxpayers at a higher rate than the
wealthy. When all taxes are taken into account -
income, sales, excise and property taxes, and the
effects of federal offsets, the poorest 20 percent of
Illinois taxpayers pay 13.1% of their income in taxes,
the middle 60 percent pay, on average, about 10.1% of
their income in taxes, while the top 
1 percent - people with an average income of $1.3
million per year 
(or about $23,000 per week) - are only paying 4.6% of
their income in taxes. Years of special tax favors to
big corporations also means that these wealthy
non-persons are also not paying their fair share of
taxes, either. 

This situation must be reversed. That is why I support
House Bill 
750 - or something substantially similar - as the way
to get us out of the budget mess, while also providing
a better basis for funding education in our schools.
The product of a genuine people's advocacy group, the
Center for Tax and Budget Accountability,
[ctbaonline.org], the bill would couple a general
increase in the State income tax with tax credits for
lower- and middle-income taxpayers, along with a
dedicated fund, to provide badly needed property tax
abatements of 20-25 percent to local taxpayers.
Overall, the plan would raise enough funds to
adequately fund our schools, begin solving the pension
mess, getting our social service agencies back on
track and allowing us to make some real headway
through projects that represent genuine progress -
like a job-creating "New Deal" to promote sustainable
energy production and sustainable transportation in
Illinois. [For more details on House Bill 750, see the
Center's website or my position paper on Budget and

Rod Blagojevich repeatedly brags that he has dealt
with the budget deficit "without raising taxes." The
trouble is, he hasn't solved the problem. His approach
has been to cut services, raid dedicated funds, sell
off state buildings - and above all, sell bonds, which
only postpone the problem, making it harder for future
generations to solve. That's not a solution. That is
sacrificing the public good down the road for
political power now. It is more of the same
irresponsible fiscal policies that got us into this
mess in the first place. 

What Mr. Blagojevich fails to understand is that the
real issue is not whether taxes are "raised" or not.
The real issue is whether our tax system is fair or
not, and whether we are spending the public money we
raise wisely, to serve the public good, not political
friends. I want a fair tax system so that we can use
government to serve the public good. Mr. Blagojevich
defends a thoroughly unfair tax system and uses some
of the funds to reward his political friends, while
basic social, economic and environmental needs are
left unmet. 

The problems we face today are the legacy of years of
rule by the two corporate parties, the Republicans and
the Democrats. In saying this, we are not faulting the
good hard-working citizens of this State who have
identified with either the Republican or Democratic
parties over the years. The fault is with these
parties as institutions, and with their top
leadership. They have come under the power and
influence of the giant multinational corporations who
are rapidly bringing this nation, and indeed the
world, to ruin. That is why we need a genuine people's
party, the Green Party, a party that refuses all
corporate campaign contributions, as a vehicle to
fight back. With your help, we can make a good start
by wresting the State of Illinois from the likes of
Rod Blagojevich. 

--- End forwarded message --- 

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Full at: www.whitneyforgov.org


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