While I understand you try to get balance, one missing participant, so to speak, from the pension discussion is the taxpayer. Because we are not organized, as the various unions are, the taxpayer's voice is much harder to hear.
For example, over the last six or so years while the pension crisis and the foreclosure crisis have raged, and have occupied column after column, no one has linked them together in the Chicago area, one of the hardest hit areas in the country, and one of the slowest to recover.
By that I mean, to my knowledge, no one has dared suggest or allude to the role or impact our high real estate taxes have had on homeowners' ability to keep their homes. Is it any wonder, when real estate taxes are one-third or more of a total mortgage payment (mine is 36 percent), that so many people lost their homes here?
And as you know, Cook County commercial real estate taxes are also unbelievably high.
Contrast Illinois and Texas. The former has 9 percent plus unemployment, high real estate taxes, an income tax, a stagnant economy, and an aging infrastructure -- let alone the pension and other debt crisis. The latter has essentially full employment (5 to 6 percent) unemployment, reasonable real estate taxes, no income tax, a booming economy, and wonderful infrastructure.
Rick Perry was right; no wonder he made his foray here. Oh, and maybe Texas homes lost 5 to 10 percent of their value during the real estate crash. That sure is a lot better than the 30 to 40 percent or more that our homes have devalued.
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