Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Will ideologues ruin Preckwinkle reputation the way they did Ogilvie?

Presuming that Cook County Commissioner John Daley and three others who indicated last week they changed their minds about the pop tax keep to their word, it would seem the tax meant to ensure the county can cover its financial obligations for health care services and other expenses will wither away.
If signs like this really stirred up anti-pop tax attitudes, will their hostility carry over to hurt Toni Preckwinkle come 2018 Election Day? Photograph by Gregory Tejeda

It creates the potential vote by the Cook County Board later this week of 12-5 (or maybe 13-4) in favor of an ordinance to rescind the penny-per-ounce on pop and other sweetened beverages. Which county board President Toni Preckwinkle will veto – but is a strong-enough vote to over-ride her – if it holds fast.

NOW SOME PEOPLE are not considering this sufficient suffering for Preckwinkle. They’re determined to stir up resentment at the polling place – getting enough people to vote against her re-election bid next year because she had the nerve to realize that the county has financial obligations that must be met.
PRECKWINKLE: Remains firm on pop tax

People in the real world don’t get to tell bill collectors we don’t have the money so we’re not paying. In reality, we have to come up with the finances to meet our obligations. We need to pay up!

Which is why I have consistently thought (and still believe) that this pop tax that adds about 20 cents to the bottle of Coca-Cola I occasionally buy is something we all have to pay – if we really need to have those carbonated beverages in supply.

It also is why I’m not terribly sympathetic to the lobbying efforts of the American Beverage Association – which represents the pop manufacturers who probably don’t want anyone else managing to get a larger cut of the money paid by people when they feel the need to buy pop.

THEY WANT IT for themselves. Understandably, but not a high-minded cause by any means.
OGILVIE: Insisted Ill. needed income tax

The trick is to see how, in coming months, this issue plays out. Will people really hold a grudge against Preckwinkle – and carry out their revenge on Nov. 6, 2018 by voting ABP?

The one thing that Toni has going in her favor is that as of now, the Anybody But Preckwinkle vote literally has nobody else to pick. People who were contemplating seeking the Democratic nomination for Cook County Board president have decided not to do so. As for the Republicans, their political party may get bogged down in the mass of anti-Trump and anti-Rauner rhetoric to put up a serious challenger.

But there are those people who can manage to get worked up at the “T” word just as much as many ideologue-minded Republicans will get worked up at the “A” word tying the governor to abortion.

Is there a 'Dan Walker' type for county?
I’M SURE THERE are those looking back to the 1972 election cycle – the one in which incumbent Gov. Dick Ogilvie lost to Democrat Dan Walker; in large part because one of the major accomplishments of Ogilvie’s one term in office was that Illinois implemented its original state tax on residents’ incomes.

Ogilvie (himself a former Cook County Board president who used that post as a springboard to the Statehouse Scene) argued that the state’s finances had become so unstable that the tax was necessary. Financial experts will argue that the tax turned out to be essential.

Yet there were enough people who voted against Ogilvie because of that tax that he wound up losing re-election.

Could governmental history repeat itself by stirring up enough people p-o’ed by the thought of paying a few more pennies each time they buy pop (which is expected to add up to a few million dollars to balance out the county budget)?

Daley name still influences our government
OGILVIE WASN’T HELPED by the fact that Dan Walker and his walk across Illinois caught the imagination of many as a viable alternative (although I know many of the same ideologues who still denounce Ogilvie’s income tax view Walker as an even worse choice).

As I already stated, as of yet, there is not really a credible challenger to Preckwinkle – although it’s always possible that there’s somebody currently out there passing about nominating petitions to try to get on the ballot for the March 20 primary.

But could she wind up going into our local political history as the woman who pushed for a tax to ensure that Cook County met its expenses – only to be penalized at the polling place?

In a world that could seriously elect Donald J. Trump as president with only 46 percent voter support, anything is possible.


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