Just when you think it can't get any worse.
The GOP in Illinois is in bad shape, a point that a handful of people (yours truly included) got to discuss last night at an event called The State of the Republican Brand, hosted by America's Future Foundation in Chicago. A very lively and engaging discussion included such names as Grover Norquist of Americans For Tax Reform and local guy Dan Proft, who sort of stole the show.
Funny that we were just discussing the fall-down of the GOP, when this news comes across the wire. Hey, Seniors? Enjoy your free rides. Cost to taxpayers? $530 million in tax increases. The worst part?
If the bill had not passed, Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace riders would have faced an unprecedented level of fare hikes and service cuts, including the elimination of more than 160 city and suburban bus routes. All evening suburban bus service and many weekend Pace routes would have been eliminated. CTA fares would have jumped as high as $3.25. Pace bus fares would have increased to $2, and all paratransit, dial-a-ride, taxi-access and vanpool rides would have cost more.
So, if the General Assembly hadn't stuck it to the entire state to bail out the insanity that is Chicago's virtually free transit system, the users might have had to bear the cost of the service they are using??? Dear Lord, say it isn't so! An outrageous $2.00 to ride the bus? The inhumanity of it all! We wouldn't want people to have to take care of themselves and bear the costs of the services they use. That would be... well, it would be unfair!
Speaking of people taking care of themselves... It gets worse:
Calling it a "happy day" for riders, Daley said he now will work with members of the City Council to pass an increase in Chicago's real estate transfer tax by $3 per $1,000 of sales price, action that is called for in the legislation to help fund CTA pension and health care costs.
Ah yes, the pensions. Well, we wouldn't want people who have pensions to have to plan for their own future, would we?
OK. Enough bad news for one night. Since I want to leave you with something - anything - positive, check out this post by Eric Odom at Conservablogs. If you get a chance, watch the video, and tell me that there's not one of us who wouldn't love to read the riot act to a bureaucrat like that who's ready to inform you what you can say, write or think.