Monday, January 14, 2008

National Taxpayers United urges fight against CTA tax hikes

Please contact your state senator to say that you oppose House Bill 656 which will increase your sales tax to pay for a broken CTA system. Here is the letter we are sending to all of the state senators. They are voting in the next few days so tell all the people that you know to call your senator as well and show your disproval of any tax increase.

National Taxpayers United of Illinois
407 S. Dearborn, Suite 1170
Chicago, Illinois 60605 (312) 427-5128 FAX (312)427-5139
Web: Email:

January 14, 2008

Dear Senator,

Please vote “NO” on House Bill 656, which you will consider this week. It is a very bad bill for several reasons.

The CTA is a financial black hole that will not be made viable even with limited concessions by its overpaid union members. The bureaucracy is corrupt and incompetent, and needs to be replaced. Many buses carry less than half-a-dozen riders and the CTA Douglas line unnecessarily duplicates the service of the CTA Congress line on the Eisenhower Expressway. The so-called “doomsday” cuts are necessary and only the beginning of what is needed to restore viability. It will take more than cutting 81 bus routes and 2,400 employees before the CTA can survive.

The proposed $530 million tax hikes will harm the Illinois economy and low-income users. The window-dressing proposal to offer free rides to senior citizens makes no economic sense, and is strictly a media ploy. People over 65 don’t need free rides; only 17 percent are in the poverty range. In contrast, single female families have a poverty rate of 34 percent. The handicapped, students, and those on food stamps are needier—but then; why not offer free rides to everyone? Where do you draw the line?

The free rides for seniors will necessitate a fare increase that truly will hurt the poor under 65, to cover the anticipated shortfall of more than $30 million. The Chicago Tribune reports that 73 percent of those responding to its poll oppose giving senior citizens free rides.

The 200 percent RTA sales tax increase in the collar counties is grossly unfair to the residents of those counties, who use the CTA very little compared to the residents of Cook County, who will be asked to pay 25 percent more.

Furthermore, the huge hike in Chicago’s real estate transfer tax, which would raise it to $10.50 per $1,000, would give Chicago the highest real estate transfer tax of any large city. This is a 40% tax increase and will place a huge burden on not only home buyers, but also home sellers and small business owners in a depressed real-estate market.

I ask you to vote “NO” on HB 656. Chicago residents will be riled over the unconscionable increase in the real estate transfer tax. There very likely will be a political backlash against members of the General Assembly who support HB 656. Please don’t let yourself be duped by greedy union members and Chicago politicians who want to throw more taxpayer dollars at the moribund CTA. Thank you for your consideration.


Jim Tobin, President
Established in 1976 NTUI is the largest taxpayer organization in Illinois.

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