“I don’t understand a company raising their rates 87% and getting away with that,” Newton Johnson, an Illinois driver recently said to the Chicago Tribune. “As far as working people are concerned, we don’t get that type of increase.”
Mr. Newton was complaining about the toll way and its rates going up 87% January 1st. Eighty-seven percent! That is a lot of money in any economic climate let alone one where we’re slowing digging out of recession.
This increase is partially my fault. I was one of Illinois voters who casted a ballot for Pat Quinn back in November 2010. I suppose it doesn’t matter that I did it holding my nose; I still voted for the guy. The guy told us before the election he was going to raise our taxes. That he was honest about it doesn’t make me feel any better.
Why are people not more irate about this 87% increase? Mr. Newton is right—that sort of increase is ridiculous. Two years ago when Mayor Daley jammed the 75 year parking meter lease through an impotent City Council, we were irate. We still are pissed off about it. I curse Mayor Daley every time I pay a meter (especially on Sundays and holidays). Before he decided to retire, there was question whether Mayor Daley would have actually won reelection (had his opponent been Danny Davis or Carol Moseley Braun, Daley still would have won). I don’t see that same anger for the tollway increase.
Is it because, with the I-Pass, the state electronically takes money from your pocket without us every really seeing it? Do people think the increase is fair because we need to maintain the highways and the increased tolls go toward that end?
In and of itself, the 87% toll way increase probably will not be Governor Quinn’s undoing. I hope that the cumulative effect of his fingerprints on our wallets will be. However, don’t count on Illinois Republicans to put up a viable candidate in 2014. Only the party that gave us Bill Brady, George Ryan and whatshisface?... carpetbagger Alan Keyes, can make Illinois Democratic party look good. I still thank DuPage County Republicans for Pat Quinn. Had the DuPage Republican party sat down and had one of their own run in the Republican primary, rather than four, those four wouldn’t have split the vote giving us Bill Brady. Didn’t the DuPage Republican party figure out the shotguns in a circle approach in the primary election was not a good idea? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait until 2014 to see who will run against Pat Quinn in the primary. 2014!! My money is on Lisa Madigan. Every time Pat Quinn takes a position on something—which is not very often—Lisa Madigan, very publically, takes the opposite position. I’m quite certain I do not want power in Illinois politics being consolidated with the Madigans, but if the alternative is Pat Quinn shaking me down for more money, I think renaming the state Madiganistan would be preferable. What are the chances we can get to 2014 without another tax increase?
That gives Republicans two years to get their stuff together and hopefully come out of the wilderness. Considering the party’s recent history, I’m not too hopeful.