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The opening of the Longmeadow Parkway toll bridge inched forward Tuesday as a Kane County Board committee gave preliminary approval to a multimillion-dollar contract that locks in two discount programs for frequent users.

Even with the discounts, board representatives from the area where the tollway will be located are still not pleased with the project.

The board’s transportation committee voted to give a $7.8 million contract to Texas-based Electronic Transactions Consultants Corp. The company, whose primary owners are based in Italy, would oversee the discount program and manage customer accounts and communication.

The contract is a six-year deal with possible extensions that could see it last up to 10 years. The $7.8 million reflects the full 10-year cost of the pending agreement.

Tolls for most cars will be 95 cents per trip on the bridge over the Fox River. It’s the only bridge over the river in the county that would charge a toll.

Frequent users of the Longmeadow Parkway toll bridge can take advantage of one of two discount programs, depending on where they live.

Read more here.

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Suburban voters already have reportedly cast more than 266,000 early or mail-in ballots ahead of the Nov. 3rd presidential election, with early voting slated to expand across the region starting today.

County clerks are ramping up early voting today, with 17 sites available in Lake County, 11 in McHenry and more than 50 in suburban Cook. Kane County offers seven permanent early voting sites, eight alternative sites and various mobile locations starting today through Oct. 28th.

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On September 26th, The League of Women Voters (LWV) of the Palatine Area, lwvpalatinearea.org, conducted a virtual non-partisan candidate forum for three candidates running for the 52nd District of the Illinois House of Representatives; Martin McLaughlinAlia Sarfraz and Marci Suelzer. The YouTube recording of the meeting can be viewed here.

We listened intently to the recording and felt we would be remiss if we did not share at least one excerpt we believe is critical for voters to hear or read. The LWV asked candidates to,

“Think of a person that is, or has served in Springfield, that’s made an impact for the better in our state.”

Marci Suelzer’s response to this simple question was,

Marci Suelzer

I’m somewhat at a disadvantage in this question in that I did not grow up in Illinois. But I do think that Governor Pritzker has made an impact in saving lives in Illinois.

I wish that I had a better base of historical knowledge to go back two decades or whatever, but I simply don’t.”

The question and her response can be heard here.

Though she admittedly lacks experience, that has not stopped significant contributions to Suelzer’s campaign which only began less than three months ago. Her campaign committee has amassed upwards of $400,000, primarily from Democratic Party of Illinois ($129k), Democratic Majority ($94k), LIUNA Chicago Laborers ($58k), Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters PAC ($58k) and Friends to Elect Kathleen Willis ($45k).

Clearly with this overabundance of political funding, Marci Suelzer does not need to worry about her lack of experience, since if she is elected, her well-financed handlers will tell her how to vote.

Martin McLaughlin has been running for the 52nd District for nearly a year with funding of about 20% of that of his opponent. What matters most when considering which candidate to vote for in an election;

  • (a) one who has been successfully leading a Village for eight years or
  • (b) one who, although inexperienced, has substantial financial backing from the current State leadership?

You decide!

Campaign finance references: Marci Suelzer Campaign Committee, Martin McLaughlin For State Representative

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The contest ahead of a Nov. 3 vote on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution remains close. There are many interesting paths forward depending on the eventual outcome of this vote.

The fight over the graduated income tax—or the “Fair Tax,” as Gov. J.B. Pritzker branded it—has rightly been called a battle of the billionaires.

But it’s not just billionaires like Pritzker and his chief opponent on the tax, Citadel founder Ken Griffin, who have big stakes in the tax vote. All of us do.

The contest ahead of a Nov. 3 vote on Pritzker’s proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution remains close. A source familiar with daily polling data from the pro-amendment side told me the projected outcome is within the margin of error of the polls, too close to call.

Other facts support this. Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton recently warned about a possible 20 percent tax hike on everyone if the amendment fails. The threat would not be needed if the vote were secure.

Griffin late last month poured another $26.8 million into the campaign to stop the amendment. He wouldn’t have doubled his initial outlay if the outcome weren’t still in play.

It’s astounding the contest is close. The “fair tax” is a soak-the-rich appeal to raise taxes on the top 3 percent of earners. The remaining 97 percent are told their taxes will drop or stay the same. The 6 million taxpayers expecting lower or level tax bills should overwhelm the 190,000 in the top 3 percent who would face a tax hike.

Of course, politics is more than math. It requires understanding the hopes and fears of people, their sense of whom to trust and what to believe. Those concerns help explain why Pritzker’s proposal is not faring better.

Read more from the Better Government Association here.

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Martin McLaughlin, the village president of Barrington Hills since 2013, is an advocate for reducing spending and cutting taxes.

He is running in the state’s 52nd House District against Marci Suelzer, a Democrat from Island Lake, and Alia Sarfraz, a Green Party candidate from South Barrington.

The three are seeking to replace longtime state Rep. David McSweeney, who isn’t seeking reelection.

McLaughlin criticized the state for passing a budget this past spring that included a projected $6 billion deficit.

He said that in Barrington Hills, village officials started having conversations in the spring about what the pandemic’s economic impact would look like and what that would mean for village revenues.

“I just want the state to recognize the revenue will not be there and to be proactive about that, whatever that takes as far as reductions in spending or cuts or an overall look,” he said in a group interview with the editorial boards of the Northwest Herald and the Daily Herald.

Read the full Northwest Herald endorsement here.

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To the Editor:

Judge Mark Gerhardt is running for Circuit Judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit-4th Subcircuit. I have known Mark as a practicing trial attorney and as a colleague on the bench. In both capacities, Mark has always been prepared, professional and knowledgeable of the law.

He expects no more or no less of those attorneys appearing before him.

A judicial race is not about partisan politics. it is not about gender. There are a number of major considerations in deciding which candidate is best suited for the position of Circuit Judge.

Does the candidate have integrity? Is the candidate impartial? Will the candidate apply the law fairly, without discrimination? Does the candidate have the requisite experience and knowledge to hear and rule on all types of cases, criminal and civil?

Does the candidate have the ability and foresight to improve the Court in its administration of justice and in servicing all the people of McHenry County?

When it comes to Judge Mark Gerhardt, the answer to all of the foregoing questions is unequivocally yes. Mark Gerhardt has all the qualities we deserve to have in our judges in McHenry County.

Maureen McIntyre

Barrington Hills

Source

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Our Board of Trustees holds their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM. Some of the topics for discussion and/or vote include:

  • [Vote] A Resolution Authorizing Execution of an Intergovernmental Agreement Amongthe Villages of Bartlett, Hoffman Estates, Barrington Hills, Barrington, Deer Park, Lake Zurich, Hawthorn Woods, Mundelein, Vernon Hills, Mettawa, Green Oaks and the Cityof North Chicago for Engineering Work to Complete the Recertification of a QuietCorridor Along the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railroad Res 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to the Existing Special Use Permit for anExpansion of the Parking Lot at 160 Hawthorne Road Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Approving a Map Amendment Rezoning the Property Located at32W 393 Algonquin Road from R1 Single Family Residence District to B-3 GeneralBusiness District Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Authorizing the Execution of a Retail Sales Agreement with AVISystems, Inc. for Audio Streaming Equipment and Software for Village MeetingsResolution 20 –

A copy of their agenda can be viewed and downloaded here. To (try to) listen to the meeting, dial 508-924-1464.

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Tom Wilbeck

District 1

Voters in the McHenry County Board’s District 1, which includes parts of Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake, Barrington Hills, Cary and Fox River Grove, have the choice between three candidates to fill two board seats at stake in the Nov. 3 election.

Incumbent Republicans Tom Wilbeck and Yvonne M. Barnes face a challenge from Democrat Theresa Meshes.

We endorse Wilbeck of Barrington Hills and Barnes of Cary. Both candidates have proved knowledgeable on the county’s issues. Wilbeck and Barnes also have residents’ best interests in mind and support reducing property taxes. Wilbeck is adamant about balancing revenues and expenditures, while Barnes offers a solid plan moving forward with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more here.

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The League of Women Voters of the Palatine Area, lwvpalatinearea.org, has scheduled a virtual, nonpartisan Candidate Forums September 26 from 11 AM to noon to help inform and educate voters prior to the Nov. 3 General Election. Candidates running for the Illinois House of Representatives 52nd District are Martin McLaughlin, Alia Sarfraz and Marci Suelzer.

Register for virtual forum at: https://balibrary.librarycalendar.com/events/illinois-52nd-candidate-forum.

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When we present arguments against a graduated income tax — a referendum will be at the top of the November ballot for voters to decide — we hope to convince those of you on the fence. Regular readers of the Tribune editorial page already are familiar with our fiscal policy recommendations and frustration with politicians who have failed for decades to straighten out this state’s spiraling financial mess.

In our view, switching from a constitutionally protected flat tax to a graduated income tax would allow Illinois politicians to tinker with rates — to extract more money from hardworking taxpayers — without forcing them, the politicians, to do the hard work of streamlining government, cutting spending and eliminating the structural deficit that has made this state a deadbeat for more than a decade. It is beyond irresponsible that the state can’t pay for services for its most vulnerable, can’t pay its bills on time and has a credit rating near junk status.

Other states with graduated income tax rates that are running smoothly are running smoothly because they are well-run states — not because of the “magic” of a graduated tax structure.

That’s our take. But to readers undecided, and even for those of you who plan to vote in favor of the graduated tax amendment, give us a shot at trying to change your minds. Unlocking the Illinois Constitution’s flat rate is the wrong path toward a healthy Illinois, which is the outcome we all, regardless of party or politics, want to see. We all strive for the revival of the great state of Illinois. But this is not the way to do it.

Illinois elected officials need to be responsible stewards of the people’s money: Pay the state’s bills on time. Respect taxpayers by spending frugally. Reduce the size and scope of government by focusing on essential services. Offer voters a chance to vote on term limits, redistricting reform and a pension amendment.

Read the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board’s opinions here.

Related:Editorial: Closing arguments, Part One: Why voters should reject Pritzker Tax

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