Showing posts with label kNOw RTA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kNOw RTA. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

RTA Gas Tax Will Make Someone's Day

I can hardly believe that George Ranney, one of the Regional Transportation Authority’s original promoters, is advocating the same RTA gas tax that was included in the original legislation.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," as George Santayana put it so well in 1905.

So, go ahead.

Re-enact the RTA gas tax.

Make it 5%.

Apply it to the state and federal Motor Fuel Tax portion of the price of gasoline, too.

15 cents or more a gallon.

And, why not suggest the repealed parking tax, too?

You will create another suburban Cal Skinner.

I hope he or she has as much fun killing a new RTA Gas Tax as I did the original one.

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After I wrote this article I remembered that Ranney was the designated spokesman for the RTA Citizens Committee for Better Transportation in the last radio debate on the subject. It occurred the Friday before the RTA referendum was barely (and maybe not) passed (no recount allowed in an entirely paper ballot and less than a 13,000 vote margin with obvious fraud). We were at a little FM station in some older Chicago high rise. By then I had my sound bites down pat.

As we reached the elevator after the recording, Ranney said, "If we had known we would have so much trouble with McHenry County, we would have left you out."

My response: "Now you tell me!"

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And, yes, that's a picture of one Cal Skinner, Jr., showing a bit of what the House Chambers looked like in the late 1970's. Huge stacks of bills, if you wanted to have a chance of being able to figure out what was going on beyond the Legislative Digest. And some of us were a lot thinner.

There is always more at McHenry County Blog, including news of a soon-to-be 500-employee company that could move out of Illinois to Wisconsin but is not--just out of Crystal Lake.


Monday, May 07, 2007

RTA Uses Tax Dollars to Lobby Citizens to Lobby Legislators

It’s certainly not unusual for tax dollars to be used to lobby Illinois legislators.

Former legislators, whether that way through retirement or ouster, often get contracts from local tax districts to influence their former colleagues.

The Regional Transportation Authority, now headed by State Rep. Jim Reilly, has taken tax-paid lobbying a step forward.

Just as House Minority Leader Lee Daniels plowed new ground by using state pork tax dollars to help elect Republicans challenging incumbent Democrats, it looks like Reilly is pioneering the use of tax dollars to try to get citizens to lobby their legislators for a tax hike.

The evidence is not limited to the newspaper insert I saw this past weekend, but it typifies the effort.

A poorly disguised front group was set up called “Moving Beyond Congestion.”

After you get past the “In your dreams!” moment, you might take a look at the address of the


It’s addressed to the Regional Transportation Authority.

Of course, the full-color tag board insert no where tells people that they will be lobbying for tax hikes.

It talks about
And, what are the calls for action?
  • Educate my network of friends no the strategic plan for transit
  • Write a letter, send an email, or call my legislators
  • Visit with my lawmakers in my community and talk about the need for transit improvements
Not a word about higher taxes.

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If you are a glutton for punishment, you can click on the tax paid advertisements to make them larger. And for gluttons for information about a blogger First Amendment issue, it's at McHenry County Blog.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

RTA Universal Fare Card - Again

Here we go again.

Of course, a universal fare card was first promised in 1974 by the RTA Citizens Committee for Better Transporation.

And on December 18, 2005, Steve Schlickman, RTA Executive Director said
the RTA’s “goal” is to have the “universal fare card available to Metra riders in six months.”

It’s a bit past June, 2006, but no one should be surprised.

What's another year?

That universal fare card idea was trotted out 33 years ago during spring of 1974 during the referendum campaign.

That's when Steve's father Gene and I were fighting the referendum by appearing on Milton Rosenberg's Extension 720, among other places.

The universal fare card pledge wasn’t as outrageous as

Transportation, when and where you need it, throughout the region.
But, it is no wonder the “kNOw RTA” campaign committee’s name and campaign resonated with the public.

The more people learned about RTA, the more likely they were to vote against the referendum.

The RTA tax hikers’ pollster, Roger Stanley, is reported to have found the opponents were picking up one percentage point a day as election day approached.

The referendum passed by less than 13,000 votes with paper ballots.

No recount was allowed.

McHenry County Blog is loaded with articles about local politics this weekend.


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