Reader engagement helps make this job worthwhile. Here’s a recent sampling from my inbox:
Bob A. sent me a chart titled: “Illinois’ nation leading units of local government, a dragon to be slayed … Fight waste! Consolidate!” Bob said “government consolidation/reduction should NOT be overlooked for the 2022 elections. I’m campaigning to make this a statewide subject.”
Art O., of Fox River Grove, suggests a series on creating good government with input from journalists and political scientists to create a short list of key reforms. His ideas include: an independent Legislative Inspector General, term and spending limits, independent redistricting, “a pool of independent financial backers of good government initiatives and candidates,” changing Statehouse terms to four years for representatives and six for senators, “a one-stop neutral website describing all political candidates’ qualifications, positions and degree of statesmanship” and “an independent, all-branch local, state and federal government watchdog agency.”
Crystal Lake’s David A. opposes federal Build Back Better legislation, saying a plan to raise the State and Local Tax Credit maximum from $10,000 to $80,000 could cost Illinois more than $1 billion by allowing people with high income and property tax bills to further reduce their state income tax obligation.
“How do you think the state will make up for the lost revenue caused by the federal tax change? State tax revenues are protected when the SALT credit is minimized.”
On Jan. 4, Patrick H. responded to my suggestion that readers make a New Year’s resolution to contact elected officials:
“I sent an email months ago to Lauren Underwood and requested a response. Apparently she and her staff only respond to her Democratic constituents. She doesn’t like to hear a differing opinion from a Republican constituent.”
Patrick said he asked Underwood to oppose BBB. I tried sending my own email to Underwood. This required me to input a mailing address — to prove residency in the 14th Congressional district, something my 10th District representative doesn’t require — so I used the address of her Crystal Lake office and completed the form, identifying myself as a columnist and explaining I was following up on a constituent’s request.
The next day I got an auto reply email, which included a phone number to the West Chicago office for immediate assistance read in part: “Thank you very much for writing to me. Your views and concerns are of great importance to me, and I view this communication as essential to representing you in Congress. This message is to let you know that my office is in receipt of your message, and I look forward to sending you a detailed reply in the near future.”
That was Jan. 5, and I’ve heard nothing since. Disappointing is an understatement.