Today in Washington - March 18, 2009

Donelle Pardee Whiting

With election time coming up, we will be running a package of stories about government called “Bad Government — whose fault is it?”

We are not saying that all members of Illinois government are bad leaders or bad politicians.

However, as recent events — namely George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich — have shown us, once again, that there are some bad apples in positions of authority.

As citizens, we trust these leaders to do what we elect them to do, make Illinois a great place to live and take care of its people.

With this in mind we thought we would investigate this and present a grouping of stories addressing what makes a good or bad government.

This package will run in all five TimesNewspapers publications, including the Washington Times-Reporter, March 25.

•••

By now, most of you have heard the news about Gov. Pat Quinn’s intention of raising income taxes.

Quinn is asking Illinois legislators to approve a 50 percent increase in income taxes.

If passed, individuals would pay 4.5 percent instead of the current 3 percent. The last time the individual income tax was raised was in 1989. It was originally passed as a temporary measure, but later became permanent.

Although he is asking for the increase, Quinn added that his plan would include expanding the standard exemption from $2,000 per person to $6,000.

“Something is wrong when Illinois gives more tax breaks to those who raise throughbred horses than to families raising children,” Quinn said.

Quinn also plans to close tax loopholes enjoyed by the business community, calling for “shared sacrifice.”

In his speech, Quinn sought to blame those in power the last 25 years for the state’s financial troubles.

The decision is in the hands of our legislators. Don’t be afraid to call or write to your representatives in Springfield and let them know your thoughts.