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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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Illinois residents with licenses or ID cards that have expired or will in October, November, December or January now have through Feb. 1 to renew.

Drivers with expiring licenses will get another reprieve through Feb. 1, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced Wednesday.

It’s the latest of several driving-related deadlines White has extended related to the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to prevent crowds at facilities.

The previous extension stretched to Nov. 1, but now Illinois residents with licenses or ID cards that expired or will expire in October, November, December or January have extra time to renew.

The deadline to renew vehicle stickers, which was extended through Nov. 1, remains firm since Illinoisans can do that task online at cyberdriveillinois.com.

Read more here.

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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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Martin McLaughlin, left, and Marci Suelzer

The voters in the 52nd Illinois House District have been spoiled by the representation of David McSweeney.

To all those who say individual state representatives are powerless in a General Assembly controlled by legislative leaders, we say look at the performance of the Barrington Hills Republican.

For eight years, McSweeney has served with unmatched energy and tireless efforts at building relationships on both sides of the aisle. and by keenly picking his spots, he’s been uniquely successful at getting things done.

McSweeney will be a tough act to follow, but the voters have two good options to do so — Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin and Democrat Marci Suelzer of Island Lake, who brings a well-rounded background in legal affairs and mental health.

We recommend McLaughlin, the Republican.

Read the full Daily Herald Editorial Board endorsement here.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other Democratic politicians want voters to profoundly amend the Illinois Constitution. Call their proposal the “Pritzker Tax,” placed on the ballot thanks to exclusively Democratic votes in the General Assembly.

For the first time since Connecticut in 1996, if approved, an American state would switch from a flat income tax to a graduated tax. That is, if you earn five times what your neighbor earns, you must pay five times as much to the state. In 2018, Colorado voters rejected an amendment to convert from flat to graduated. North Carolina and Kentucky have gone the opposite direction, to flat taxes.

The switch hasn’t gone well for Connecticut, where progressively higher income and property taxes have driven residents to other states. The change would be similarly bad for Illinois, which already has lost population for six straight years. As young people abandon this state or don’t return here to start their families and careers, the Illinois Exodus intensifies. Every time a taxpayer departs for Florida, Tennessee or Texas, the tax burden on those of us who remain grows heavier.

So each of us should think skeptically, not reflexively by political tribe, about what the Pritzker Tax would do to Illinois. Five reasons, among others we’ll discuss in future installments, why you should vote it down:

  • The pols haven’t earned trust
  • ‘Save Illinois — and get a tax cut too!’
  • ‘Double pinkie swear, this time is different!’
  • What the Dems don’t admit
  • ‘Let the people vote’

Read the full Chicago Tribune Editorial Board’s opinions here.

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Martin McLaughlin, left, and Marci Suelzer are candidates for the 52nd state House District seat.

Six candidates vying for three Illinois House seats from the North and Northwest suburbs on Nov. 3 debated the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the state budget during a Zoom interview with members of the Daily Herald Editorial Board this week.

The interviews were with candidates running for seats in the 51st, 52nd and 54th House districts.

In the 52nd District, Democrat Marci Suelzer of Island Lake and Republican Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin are vying for the seat long held by GOP Rep. David McSweeney, who isn’t seeking reelection.

McLaughlin criticized the state for passing a 2020-21 fiscal year spending plan, including a $6 billion deficit and without addressing the economic impact of business closures due to the pandemic.

“I believe the legislature should have been involved in the decision making,” he said. “And I’d like to see that taken up in fall session because I think we’re going to miss our numbers by more than we could ever imagine. 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.”

Read more here.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants you to trust him. He and his fellow Democrats are pushing their “fair tax” proposal on the November ballot. And they promise that if you vote “yes,” they’ll only take from the rich, not the middle class.

They’re spinning the story on video ads that Pritzker is paying for, and in the media. And here’s the spin: If you vote for Pritzker’s “fair tax” amendment, and change the state constitution to abolish the current flat tax, there’s no way they’ll use their new “progressive” tax to reach down into the middle class and grab middle-class money.

No way. They promise. Trust them.

Who wouldn’t trust Pritzker? And just look at House Speaker Michael Madigan, the Democratic Party boss of Illinois, smiling impishly, even with all that federal heat on him and the FBI’s big federal bus rolling back and forth between Springfield and Chicago. Who wouldn’t trust Boss Madigan? Isn’t trust everything?

Some of you want to trust them. I get it. They’re powerful people, and Illinoisans have been trained to bow and scrape before their lords. Besides, I bet that some who believe they’ll only tax the rich also want to believe that someday, they might have tiny purple unicorns as pets.

But the problem is reality — and a series of excellent Chicago Tribune editorials on broken promises from the political class in Springfield.

Read more of John Kass’ column here.

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SPRINGFIELD — A legislative panel that oversees the state’s administrative rulemaking process voted along partisan lines to allow Gov. JB Pritzker’s emergency rule to enforce mask-wearing and other public health orders to move forward.

That decision came from the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, or JCAR, a 12-member, bipartisan, bicameral group that exercises oversight of the state’s regulatory process.

Pritzker announced the new enforcement measure on Friday, Aug. 7, as 13 counties were put on warning that they may have to reimpose some social and economic restrictions to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The order requires businesses, schools and day care facilities to make “reasonable efforts” to ensure that patrons and employees wear face coverings when they cannot maintain a six-foot distance from others. Reasonable efforts can include such things as posting signage that state face coverings are required, giving verbal warnings to customers to wear face coverings, offering a mask to patrons and asking customers to leave if they refuse.

Read more here.

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IDOT plans to replace the bridge on Algonquin Road at Spring Creek in Barrington Hills sometime between 2022 and 2026

IDOT has budgeted $805,000 for Phase I “Initial Construction – Pavements” for Algonquin Road from IL 25 (Kennedy Dr) to IL 68 (Dundee Rd) in 2021.

Additionally, they have earmarked $5,630,00 for bridge replacement on IL 62 at Spring Creek 1.4 miles west of Rt. 59 in 2022-2026.

A copy of IDOT’s plans for IL District 52 can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan is implicated in a federal corruption case in which ComEd agreed to pay $200 milion in fines.

Editorial: Time to step down, Mr. Speaker

The hammer that dropped Friday morning was not velvet.

In a one-count criminal information, federal prosecutors announced a bribery charge involving utility company ComEd and more than $1.3 million in favors the company admits it granted to high-ranking public officials to curry special favor in Springfield. Which public officials? While House Speaker Michael Madigan was not charged with wrongdoing and was not named in the documents, the feds made no secret of identifying him by title. There is only one House speaker, the most powerful politician in Illinois.

But for how long?

Until Friday, Madigan has managed to dodge the spotlight during the federal investigation of ComEd’s lobbyist practices, stating, “I am not the target of anything.” While other key players also were not named in the federal paperwork — a lobbyist, ComEd’s former CEO, a law firm — prosecutors laid out a case that puts Madigan in the middle of things.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board here.

Editorial: It can be denied no longer: Speaker Madigan must go

Federal prosecutors have not yet indicated whether they will indict the Illinois House speaker they dub “Public Official A” in documents filed with an explosive ComEd plea deal on Friday, but as far as the quality of Illinois government is concerned, they don’t have to.

The suggestions of impropriety in those documents are so overwhelming that Michael J. Madigan, whether innocent or guilty of wrongdoing, cannot escape being a major distraction both to good government and to the hopes of the political party he leads. The Chicago Democrat has survived many a controversy and many a scandal in his 35 years as Illinois House speaker, but this one is unsurvivable.

This time, it is inevitable that Speaker Madigan must go.

Read more from the Daily Herald Editorial Board here.

Madigan might be wise to step down — but, first, shame on ComEd

For the sake of Illinois and the important public policies that he himself has fought for, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan should consider stepping down.

The stakes are just so high.

At a time when Illinois is fighting a deadly pandemic, struggling to revive an economy that was in trouble even before COVID-19, and is months away from voting on a badly needed graduated income tax, the state — to our thinking — can ill afford even the slightest perception of compromised leadership. Madigan must decide whether he can continue to lead effectively, or whether his presence is a distraction from the agenda that he and his state Democratic Party support.

But as we read the stunning “statement of facts” that prosecutors laid out Friday that implicated Madigan — but didn’t formally charge him with any crimes — our focus also sharpened on the company that admitted to a series of outrageous bribery schemes: electricity giant ComEd.

The power company admitted to using lobbyists to shower jobs, contracts and payoffs all over Springfield for the sole purpose of gaining favor with Madigan, who denies any wrongdoing but, at minimum, is standing in a bad storm.

Read the opinions of the Chicago Sun*Times here.

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