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Monday, March 4, 2019

Unquenchable Thirst

Leadership should mean being an advocate for good moral conduct and encouraging a better life. That’s my perspective. But it may be a diminishing view these days.

Illinois’ new governor is faced with the usual problems of government. Demands for more benefits or services and limited revenues. The solution is always the same. Find new ways to suck money out of taxpayers—both from business and from individuals.

It appears that Governor J.B. Pritzker already has a plan to attempt to raise $1 billion in state revenues. Obviously he’s not planning on putting up megabucks out of his very rich pockets because it’s an ongoing $1 billion problem. So what kind of creative fundraising are we looking at?

The Chicago Tribune has given us some insight on this. Here’s their breakdown of potential revenue sources:

  • Vapers
    • An estimated $10 million could be raised if E-cigarettes get taxed at 36 percent of wholesale price.
  • Smokers
    • Illinois already has a $1.98 state tax on a pack of cigarettes. The Gov thinks that could be raised to $2.30 to generate another $55 million.
  • Shoppers
    • Several municipalities, including Chicago, already have a “bag tax.” But wait…there are bunches of people in the state not paying this tax. The recommendation is to tax the bags five cents apiece statewide. How much might that bring in? According to the Tribune, “The state tax would generate between $19 million and $23 million, the administration estimates, depending in part on whether Chicago claims an exemption.” This idea is drawing the most controversy since it would affect the bulk of Illinois voters.

As the saying goes, “But wait! There’s more!!!” Here are some proposed NEW sources of revenue for Illinois:

  • Sports wagering
    • Also known as GAMBLING, the governor’s plan would make 20 licenses available. Then bets could be placed online or in person. Licensees would cough up taxes to about 20 percent of their gross revenue. This little gem of sports wagering could possibly net between $77 million and $136 million in revenue in a single year, based on government estimates.
  • Recreational marijuana
    • Then there’s money to be made from selling weed. Or as I prefer to call it, DRUG MONEY! If our state legislature legalized smoking pot for fun, dopesters might generate another $170 million for the state in 2020. So believes our governor. 

From my perspective, four out of the five proposed revenue generators could easily be termed, “sin taxes.” Governments like those. Why? Because the “sins” are addictive! The bag money revenue is a gravy tax since EVERYBODY shops.

Historically, most people are not enthused about paying taxes. Jesus of Nazareth had a creative way of paying his “temple tax.” He told Peter to go fish. Grab the first one, and pull the coin out of its mouth. That covered the tax for both of them.

Oh…if it were only that easy for the rest of us. (You can find this story in Matthew 17:24–27)

In our nation's history, there were “revenuers”—agents of the U.S. Treasury Department whose responsibility included enforcing laws against illegal distilling or bootlegging of the demon alcohol. Today, government attempts to thrive off the demons!

I don’t think these Illinois proposed taxes are what the Founding Fathers had in mind for a morally upstanding and free society. In fact, wasn’t there a party in Boston over some tea taxes that drove the people nuts? We haven’t gone nuts yet in Illinois. We still vote these revenuers into office!

Be assured of this. Raising your taxes is a politician's unquenchable thirst. Look out.

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