Southend Reporter from Chicago, Illinois on March 10, 1977 · Page 4
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March 10, 1977

Southend Reporter from Chicago, Illinois · Page 4

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Chicago, Illinois
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Thursday, March 10, 1977
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Page 4 CSR Commentary Economist Newspapers, Wednesday, March 9,1977 The Public Forum That sales tax on food becoming more and more of a burden ·The General Assembly in Springfield has before it the task of adopting a budget for the state's fiscal year beginning July 1. Gov. Thompson, slashing $70 million from the anticipated expenditures during the current fiscal year, is asking $10,047 billion to run the state's affairs next year. There appears to be some solid logic to a Thompson contention that the budget does not call for a major tax increase, but, on the other hand, it doesn't provide for any tax reductions either. One of the most often promised tax reductions over the years, made usually in election campaigns by candidates with short memories, is one that offers to eliminate taxes on food items and Some even extend their promise to clothing and other household items. I The sales tax on food items Jbught to be the target of the state fessemblymen intent on providing come relief for taxpayers. * Inflation has played havoc with the average worker's paycheck Jand with the social security pay- inents received by senior citizens, and it is harder and harder for them to stretch their checks to meet all their obligations. « There is no argument here that elimination of toe sales tax on food items will be the,cure-all for teat working man, or those senior citizens, but it would provide eome relief and it would help ease the strain on the family budget. It is not unheard of these days to have a- grocery bill.of $50 a week, and then some. But, based on a $50 bill, the tax is $2.50, and that $2.50 that can be put to good use by anyone these days. What about the fellow who picks up a luncheon tab for two? He's got a check for, we'll say, $7 for food and 60 cents for coffee. That $7.60 check means he pays $7.98, taxes included. A good many waitresses are complaining that the hike in coffee prices is wrecking their income from tips. Some restaurants are charging 40 cents for coffee plus two cents for tax, and the waitresses are saying they're getting the eight cents that is left over, or the 16 cents left from a buck on two orders of coffee. That's an indication, positive enough, that people are counting their pennies these days, and the indication is positive enough argument as to why the sales tax should be lifted from food items whether purchased at the grocery store or ordered at the restaurant. So, it strikes us, it's time to dust that old campaign pledge to eliminate taxes on food and give the consumer a break. If you think pennies don't add up, take pencil and paper and jot down $2.50 a week as the tax on your grocery bill. Multiply it by 52 weeks. Now tell us you can't use that $130 more each year! st A citizen's view Your wallet and the public purse By JOHN W. GARDNER If a criminal knocked you down in the 'etreet and stole $50 from your wallet or fcurse, you'd be outraged. You'd talk about $t for years. You'd never forget it · When corrupt government officials steal JnUlions from you, you read about it, ·shake your head in disgust and then dis- Sniss it from your mind. Why? If you think Jhe money stolen by corrupt government officials isn't being lifted from your wallet, you'd better think again. ' f There are a lot of honest politicians. /Thank God, they exist But the dishonest jbnes also exist * If we're going to dp anything about them, we'll have to begin with some basic preventive measures. One is to require Jwr top officials--elected and appointed-- 4o disclose their financial holdings. Citizens have a right to know whether their Jxiblic officials have a personal financial ·stak'e in the very matters on which they're jnaking official decisions--in other words, Whether they have a conflict of interest « The government's own inspectors--the ·general accounting office--recently uncovered hundreds of such conflicts of interest in the executive branch bureaucracy. They found, among other things, ; --that an oil engineer in the Interior department responsible for monitoring oil company operations on leased lands, had Jwned stock since 1971 in major oil companies operating on leased lands; Economist Newspapers ·Winer* of *·**·] BeM Nt«)HH' c*Mo(*«4 OK ActnJBrf Boat Vtmtf»tvn «t *»cto. toe. fvr (1) GcMt*l ExccDoce: CO TjT^cr»|*r. O . art « 8»l L»c*l din*. nmprtzrty «. - J»l Mcuctn ta dnri- fM ttv w JMJJftf IWIIA ntrt* ta nnnul «w- tea faaeatvi ty (fer Pm* «s«odJi tkm. Bruce Sagan, publisher --that a Civil Aeronautics board em- ploye, responsible for approving air fare requests, owned stock in a firm engaged in air charter, air taxi and flight services; --that a Federal Maritime commission district official held 584 shares of stock in a company which was regulated by the commission and had maritime operations in his district; --that only seven out of the 125 Federal Power commission officials required to file a financial statement in 1973 actually did so; --that the Civil Aeronautics board procedures are so vague that no CAB official filed a report in 1970, 1971 or 1973. In one agency after another, the 6AO found that nobody had set down a definition of what a conflict of interest was, that financial statements were not being reviewed, and that follow up remedial action was hardly ever taken. The situation in the Congress is as unsatisfactory as it is in the Executive branch. Congressional disclosure requirements are so weak that the public can have only the vaguest information on the extent of our lawmakers' financial holdings. We do know that in 1974: -- «6 representatives had interests in banks; --to had investments in the top 100 defense contractors; --66 House members were receiving income from their law firms. The kind of disclosure law we need would not assert that such outside financial interests are necessarily improper. It would just insist that they be publicly disclosed. Let us be dear about what is needed in the way of disclosure. Citizens do not need to know a public official's net worth. It tells them nothing of significance for the political process. Nor do citizens need to see an official's income tax form. Citizens do need to know where the public official gets his or her income (specific stock owned, real property, etc.). And they need to know approximately the extent of the holdings. For example, if the official receives income from a law firm, a disclosure statute might require that he specify whether it is in the range between $1,000 and $10,000 per year, between $10,000 and $50.000, between $50,000 and $100,000 or over $100,000. Some federal officials argue that requiring them to disclose their personal finances is a gross invasion of privacy. But no official is coerced into public service. If they voluntarily assume responsibility for decisions affecting large amounts of our tax dollars, we must ask that they give us certain basic information on their own finances. It just makes sense. Coalition turns to open primaries Do any of you remember the Coalition For Political Honesty? Well, that was the organization of 12,000 Illinois citizens that voluntarily gathered 635,158 petition signatures in the greatest grass' roots campaign in American history to place three "political honesty" amendments on last November's election ballot Those amendments would have: (1) prohibited Illinois legislators from holding two or more salaried jobs on public payrolls; (2) discontinue pre-payment of their annual salaries in advance; and (3) would have prohibited them from voting on. matters in which they had a direct financial interest Then, after these signatures were acquired, the Cook county Circuit court ruled that the proposals "violated the terms of the initiative arficle of the Illinois constitution, which permits citizen initiative only on structural and procedural subjects." The Coalition contends that the majority of the court inexplicably overlooked the official explanation of the 1970 constitution. The official explanation unequivocally and unambiguously declared that initiative proposals may be "either structural or procedural" in nature. Thus, in adopting the 1970 Constitution, Illinois voters believed that they were being asked to create an initiative process for structural or procedural matters. Doesn't the constitution belong to the people anymore? We feel that the scales should have tipped in favor of the 635,158 voters who , signed our petitions. And now, after battling politicians and backward-looking courts for almost a year, there's a temptation to give up and say..."you can't fight City hall in Illinois." But, there is a 200-year-old tradition in this country and we are not giving up. In fact, we (12,000 volunteer citizens of Illinois) intend to keep the Coalition For Political Honesty "alive and kicking" In 1977. Our first and most important objective is to introduce and finally implement the idea of open primaries to Illinois. As a matter of fact, Wisconsin, Michigan, and eight other states have open primaries, the rest closed. Why? It is a known fact that most politicians hate the open primary because it significantly reduces their power. But, the open primary would end the unpopular requirement that voters must openly and publicly declare tiieir party affiliation in order to vote in a primary election. Instead, voters would choose their party ballot in the privacy of the voting booth. The current primary system in Illinois inhibits and discourages citizens from partieipat- The Lighter Side THE GIRAFFE'S NECK THIS BABY GIRAFFE, IN the long, long ago, said to its mother, "There's something I want to know." "What is it, dear?" said mother, "You seem so very upset Ask me now what it is, before you forget" Baby said, "Our heads are so far apart, from our bodies so far down below. Our heads seem to float along with ou body wherever we go." "Baby, dear," said mother softly, "Our heads were once like others, very close to our bodies...all the children, fathers and mothers." "But other animals laughed, said our beads were too small; that we couldn't see far enough to protect us from danger at all. So we prayed and prayed, and our beads grew farther away on top of a long, long neck, and thaf s bow we an today. Now you can understand, babY, just how fortunate we all are. Now we can see enemies sooner, because we can see so far!" WILLIAM A. CLIFFORD THE LANDSCAPE THE LAND IS DRESSED in ermine, since snow fell all last night..And sparkling gems from sunshine send rays that bund my sight. .And burdens bold a wrapping resembling dotted fur...All part of Winter's fashion show that Yearly does occur...! stand before my window, and view the countryside...And then become enamored as the snowflakes start to glide, and form a frenzied ballet as more and more soar past..Wben a blizzard captures landscape in its fierce and chilly blast. HELEN PRODOEHL THED001KNOB A DOORKNOB IS A useful thing.. Jt one time caused a bard to sing, "He polished up the handle of the big front door; then was made captain of the Pina- A former secretary ef healfh, and welfare, Jota Gtntoer is Chaimu of ComMM Cane. fore."...Made of brass, glass or chrome, it adds some decor to the home...You take it for granted, going in and out..But an aggravation you can do without, when hurriedly you close the door, and it falls impishly to the floor. LELAC. WHITE INCANDESCENCE LAUGHTER CAN BE GAY and bright-Energy surprising in those who are able to withstand the ravages of time-Would that all of us could be reflections of bravery and persistence...As we bear the trials of life in our everyday existence..^! those important decisions were not ours to make ...But we* may keep the candle glowing, though we stay on the lighter side. WILLIAM SAGEBRUSH THE SKY IS STILL Winter's. Clouds are gray and massive, moving heavily. There is an occasional wet snowflake or a flurry of infinitesimal hard white balls. The mood may even lean to. cold rain. But there are hints some days that Winter's fortress is crumbling. The sky goes a soft Hue stuck with cotton clouds. Winter has rolled up its carpet of deep snow, which had begun to look so worn and nondescript, but what lies uncovered now is hardly improvement The brown grass is scattered with broken twigs? and even worse, the crumpled wrappers, cigarette stubs, cans and other debris which snow had kept hidden. Spring's green carpet, when it is laid, win aot be thick enough to caver an Oat is unsightly. The impact of Winter's fist is evidenced in many scars...pot holes in the street, widened sidewalk cracks »d brofces-away cement, mortar fallen from brick waHs. Peeling paint has flaked away to leave scabby spots. In the garden is evidence bow unexpected was Winter's early attack. There is a jumble of dried stalks and teasing props which were not cleared. They made a mute plea for order and x tidy place. Birds are busy among the jumble, searching out whatever forgotten seed or tidbit might be stffl there. They are lively at the task, and cheerful. A squirrel comes again to" dig for buried treasure snow had kept locked up. Its frisky self scrambles among dry leaves, and makes Jbem whisper a tit- tle protest at the disturbance. The ground is still unyielding, although crumbs of it stick to a shoe. But tt is not ready yet for hoe or seed. Winter wfll not abdicate so easily. It stands yet astride the path Spring is to take, and scowls, but near its heel, a crocus points a green finger at the SlCF - " H.M.L, ing in the nominating process. Many voters strongly object to publicly'revealing, their party affiliation, especially since this 1 preference is then put on permanent pub-* lie file with election officials? Also,* these 1 records can be misued by politicians and' others. " ' i£ In addition, open primaries facilitate' more discriminate voting by the electorate. Hence, the selection of candidates is made more on the basis of issues and indi-- vidual merit, rather- than on just party' loyalty. ' In conclusion, open primaries an, indeed, possible in Illinois if both the House and Senate pass House bill 96 and Governor Thompson signs the legislation. . v So, let your state representatives and j senators know that you support the "open fj primary bill." Remember, they're in of-5 fice to represent you. If you do not know \ who your state legislators are, please call \ or write us for their names and address- \ es: 44 Washington blvd., Oak Park, DU-'J nois, 60302; 323-4588. " ' ! i f FRED G. LEBED, MEMBER! Coalition For Political Honesty I 'Crisis legislation' ; hit by Buikema I if ; The current dramatics of the natural! gas shortage sound familiar, as we are all! aware of the serious imbalance between! supply and demand in the United States i for natural gas. ! We desperately need a program similar* to that which President Ford called for in! 1975 and 1976 to: { 1. Encourage energy conservation. * 2. Discourage oil imports. : | 3". The decontrol of domestic oil and gasi prices to stimulate development of our) own resources. ' It bothers me that the 94th Congress! failed to enact any comprehensive ,energy! policy. The 95th Congress begins the year; with crisis legislation under procedures; limiting debate and conversation of a mat-] ter extremely vital to the lives, jobs and, security of millions of Americans.- ; The Carter administration state* that HR 2500 is a minimum temporary author!-' ty and will not solve out present gas shortage nor our long-term energy problems. To me, it is a bandage approach to. a serious problem. Natural gas accounts for one-third of our nation's energy consumption and approximately one-half of the non-transportation energy use. The domestic production of natural gas peaked in 1974 and the last several yean our supplies have fallen short of demand. Government regulation of natural gas prices in the interstate market is responsible. Federal controls keep the price artificially low and as a result the exploration for resources has declined drastically. ;lt is time for Congress to stop making: laws of economics respond to the need of politics. We must have de-regulation of interstate natural gas prices. Let's prevent emergencies rather than trying to deal with them in a crisis environment. I hope the Democratic controlled Congress does not give OK American people a repeat performance of doing nothing on the energy crisis facing this nation. RONALD BUIKEMA SF4PERI No busing, stress quality education The Economist recent front page article, "Cronin's 'dream' arousing furor," surely aroused mine. State Supt of Education Joseph M. Cronin's dream envisions totally desegregated metropolitan school system by 1980.1 envision it as a totally disrupted system! The Chicago school system is among the worst in the nation. Armed police and security guards patrol the halls in a hopeless attempt to curtail crime. If a child survives four years in the Chicago system he is handed a diploma he can't even read. That is one of the main reasons for the flight to the suburbs. In Chicago minorities total 75 per cent, dearly the majority. Therefore, the Chicago system is impossible to totally integrate without a mass influx of whites. Cronin must took elsewhere toward the suburbs. This is where he is going to have a nightmare. State law has no provision for forced busing from city to suburban school districts. It must be implemented on a voluntary basis. It will be very interesting to note just bow many* suburban districts will voluntarily lower their educational standards as accredited schools so Cronin can have his sweet dream. He should save the energy wasted by busing and apply the funds to quality education to schools children can walk to. Insuring quality education in all districts is what we as taxpayers expect of one who is a public servant ROBERT E. PRTTCHARD 'We are what our roots are" I was appalled when 1 read the letter from "American by choke" S«day, Feb. S7. Doesn't be know that ire ire what on roots are and nothing can ever rbiBgf that I too am an American dttzen by choice and proud of it I also have very strong feelings for those -who choose to stay in Northern Ireland. 1 better* that the majority of Cafteifc* and Protestants in Ulster want peace, Ml peace isn't enough adess It is combined with equal opportunity for alL Yes, America is definitely the greatest and most beautiful country on Ike face of the earth, but a smidgen of me wfll remain forever in the land where my ancestors have at long last found the peace and contentment that escaped them during their lifetimes. BRBOGETTE T. MURPHY .FWSPAPFKl

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