Evanston aldermen split tonight when asked to endorse a resolution urging the legislature to keep the state income tax rate at 5 percent.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said that if the tax is allowed to roll back to 3 percent — as lawmakers promised when they passed what they billed as a temporary increase — “the cuts that will have to come are going to fall heavily on municipalities.”

“I think the time to deal with that is now,” Tisdahl said, “rather than to scream after it happens.”

But Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said that the lawmakers made promises to voters when they passed the increase.

“I don’t think the circumstances have changed,” Wilson said. “If this was going to be the course it should have been the course when it was passed in the first instance.”

“I think that would have been more honest and truthful.”

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, said she’d attended a town hall meeting held by State Sen. Daniel Biss last month.

At that meeting Biss said he favored a graduated income tax, but the deadline has now passed for getting a referendum on the fall election ballot to amend the state constitution to permit that.

Grover said that, failing getting a graduated tax, Biss made a really good case for extension of the current income tax rates.

“Given the size of the hole we’re in and the trajectory of how big it can become,” Grover said, “to right the ship, everybody’s got to feel some pain.”

The legislature has got to deal with it from both the revenue and spending side, Grover said, and they’re doing both.

Wilson replied that he doesn’t agree “with how Springfield continues with its spending,” and the lack of more responsible spending policies, although he added that he’s much more pleased with the actions of the lawmakers who represent Evanston that with the legislature as a whole.

In the end the Rules Committee voted 6-4 in favor of the resolution, with Wilson joined by aldermen Fiske, Braithwaite and Rainey in voting no.

The resolution still requires action at a regular City Council meeting to take effect. That could come as soon as next Monday.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. dishonest public officials
    This is not suprising, you promise one thing and do something else, those on the council who support this show how they think. It likely the same people, will continue to support the wasteful spending that goes on here, For some time now I have been asking them for the truth about the MESS at the Evanston water utility, which I suspect drawfs the police and fire pension problem. There plan is to each year add 10%, like they did last year with NO discussion, just voting on it. By the why they will no doubt support adding a 20% water bill increase for a new water tank,when a 2-3% increase is all that is necessary. Wally will keep on telling everyone he will make millions selling water, when he can’t even explain what the current operation is doing! And finally at the last meeting I suggested they break the water operation into two businesses, distrubution ( paid by Evanston residents almost 100%) and the water plant which Evanston residents use only 20% of the water produce. That would be a real eye opener.
    Then again, when they talked about the new Sheridan road project I was told they were not going to replace the 100 year old water lines under the street but bury them over with 1 foot of concrete! Pure engineering genius?
    What a mess, does anyone expect the people in springfield to act with any more intelligent? Given the Governor was thinking of giving them money for the water tank?

  2. So angry i can’t see straight

    I wrote to each member of the council yesterday after reading about the resolution on the Evanston Now website.  In part, what i wrote was:

    "I spoke to our representatives in Springfield when this temporary income tax increase was voted on.  I was assured it was temporary.  I was very skeptical at the time, and could have predicted the effort to make it permanent.  Should that occur, I will certainly consider  the vote a certification that elected state officials are liars.  Trust is difficult to earn but very easy to lose."

    It is widely reported (locally and nationally) that Illinois is the embarrassement of the nation on so many levels, including corruption and wasteful spending.  Some on the Evanston's City Council want to reward bad behavior, in hopes Evanston will get a cut of the action.  There are unflatering parallels to this type of thinking, which I will avoid describing.

    This is the same city council I wrote to over a year ago, begging that Evanston issue a formal resolution condemning the dumping of four tons of coal ash slurry into Lake Michigan each day that the Badger Auto Ferry travels, 160 days a year.  Since it started over 61 years ago, The Badger has dumpped thirty nine thousand tons or seventy eight million pounds of coal ash into Lake Michigan.  Coal Ash contains mercury, arsenic, selenium, boron, chromium and lead among other heavy metals.  Evanston's Water Quality Data report identifies chromium and lead in our water supply, albeit below the "highest allowable limit".  Chromium can cause stomach cancer.  Lead can lead to kidney disease.  The council decided against issuing a resolution, deferring to "others who are working on that issue", namely Senator Durbin who has been in public office for over three decades; but he is still working on the problem.

    The odd thing is I could support a higher income tax, higher property taxes and other taxes if I felt the money was being used wisely and that there were checks & balances in place to protect the flow of money.  This of course would mean I would have to have trust in Springfield; which i do not have.  A suitable resolution that I could support would call for making the income tax permanent, AND calling for the removal of Mike Madigan from his position of Speaker of the House, and the removal of John Cullerton from his position as Senate President.  I have read countless articles about how Madigan has manipulated state government for over four decades, yet he always gets re-elected by his peers as Speaker of the House.  How can that be?  I asked one of our state representatives about that some time ago.  The answer was "He can't live forever."   This statement suggests the mindset of Springfield.  And it reinforces my opinion that the temporary income tax should be allowed to expire; until such time the electorate can TRUST state government again.

    My two cents. 



    1. Vote Republican

      The fastest and most effective way to strip Madigan and Culleton of their abusive power is to vote out all incumbent Democrats and vote in their Republican opponents.

      The only reason Madigan and Culleton can do what they want is because they have no political competition. The same goes for the Evanston City Council.

      1. Sorry, not a good enough solution, AA

        "Term Limits" and "Getting Money out of Politics" and "Eliminating Gerrymandering" are all more needed than a pat "vote Republican" answer.

      1. Unconvinced

        The pod cast was not convincing. These are the same people that have been lying through their teeth. There are a couple of things we need to remember.

        Quinn only wanted a temporary increase to 4% and he made it a promise. Then Madigan proposed the temporary increase to 5% and Quinn promised to veto anything over 4%. The legislature passed the increase to 5% and Quinn decided not to veto it.

        As it turned out, we only needed the increase to 4%. That extra 1% is all they used to pay off old debt. The other 1% was used to reward political friends with new grants or pledege dollars to keep union members working. We all know Evanston got its share of very large grants.

        Part of the states gifts to Evanston is the arrival of a state agency that says they can spend millions of taxpayer dollars to repair our mansion and still have plenty of money left over to pay high end rent. How does the state have so much money to throw around.

        Anybody that votes to make this tax permanent, should not be re-elected. 

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