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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Scare quotes of the day

Posted By on 01.10.08 at 05:20 PM

On Monday, the governor encouraged lawmakers to end the months-long stalemate by sending him legislation that he could "improve."

Well played. What did "improve" turn out to mean in this context? I apologize in advance for the lengthy excerpt of the governor's press release, but it's really a masterpiece of audacity. Emphases mine.

I’ve said clearly and frequently that I don’t think raising the sales tax is the right way to help the CTA and other transit agencies.  People already pay too much in taxes; I believe they should pay less, not more.  Even though the increase in the bill passed by lawmakers is small, people will still feel an impact.  Despite my public support for an alternative bill that would address the CTA’s long-term needs without increasing taxes, lawmakers did not send me that bill.  In the spirit of compromise, and with a keen awareness of what is at stake for millions of transit riders if a long-term funding solution is not in place by January 20, I will act on the bill passed by the General Assembly as soon as it reaches my desk with one important improvement,” said Governor Blagojevich. “I’m particularly concerned about seniors who live on fixed incomes and who don’t have the ability to absorb a higher sales tax without making cuts in other areas.  That’s why I will rewrite the bill to allow all senior citizens in Illinois to take public transportation for free.

In other words, "I don't want to create an undue burden on taxpayers, but in the spirit of compromise I will make it more expensive." Even as someone who can probably fairly be accused of being a big-government liberal do-gooder, I have to admit I find this pretty jaw-dropping.

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