The Chicago area transportation authority does not take in enough money to pay its own expenses. It includes Ls (trains) and buses. Many, many
people depend on it for transportation to work, including people who cannot afford the cost of a vehicle for work (including insurance, licensing,
fuel, parking fees, and maintenance). A number of those people are on the lower rungs of the economic ladder (waitresses, fast-food cooks, etc.) If
fares are raised much, it would be a hardship to some people who have no alternative, while others would use the transportation less, taking away some
of the income now coming in (and thus offsetting some of the increase).
The state legislature passed legislation increasing the sales tax to pay for the shortfall. Gov. Blagojevich had run on a pledge not to increase state income tax or sales tax. However, there are only ten days left before the CTA would have to eliminate the routes that bring in the least fares, decrease the number of buses on the other routes, and increase fares. So, the governor used his amedatory veto to write in "Everyone 65 or older shall be allowed to ride the trains and buses for free," and signed the amended bill.
This should have been part of the budget that was supposed to be finished by July of last year!
The system needed $440-$480 million (of which Chicago itself contributes $3 million).
So, the rest of the state (which has some of the highest taxes in the Midwest) has increased taxes to subsidize the Chicago area, which operates the system at such an alarmingly high loss of revenue. In this crisis situation, the governor decided to allow the older people (who already get discounted fairs) to ride for free. The loss of revenue from the fares they would pay, even at their reduced rates, is expected to be $20 million.
What do you do, if people do not pay enough for a service to pay its expenses? In Blago's world, you raise taxes, and then give the service away for free to some who use it, so that you lose even more money!
Sounds like Illinois politics as usual.
Jackie, who moved here from Calumet, which is a Chicago suburb, won't vote up here.
She says if she can't vote three times in the same election she ain't gonna vote just once.
I remember the Chicago election slogan:
"Vote early, vote often."
So, what are you two saying? That you can vote in an election as many times as you like? How is that fair?
I'm hearing on the radio that the cost of a fare in the Chicago Transit Authority is going up. Of course, that won't deter the governor's plan to
give away $20,000,000 per year--everybody else will just have to pay more to make up for what he's giving away.
Did you know that a higher percentage of younger people live in poverty, than older people? People in their twenties, toward the bottom of the pay scale as they are starting out, sometimes with student loans to pay, sometimes with children, are much more likely to be in poverty. There certainly are people 65 and over who are poor, but many more of them have Social Security checks, Medicare, own a home (or have savings if they choose to rent), and don't have children at home. If the governor had aimed his policy at helping people at an age where they are most likely to need economic relief, it would not have been the senior citizens.