The race for the 17th has become a critical down ballot race and a highlight for Northshore Democrats as they watch several women go toe-to-toe battling for the seat.
We’re all Democrats, so all of the candidates and myself share many of the same guiding principles. However, the differences in the details are what define us as truly progressive, truly independent or just trying to be.
For example, we all support a graduated income tax with more revenue.
Here are my key policy positions relating to taxes compared with those of my opponents:
- I support legalizing Marijuana. We need to tax and regulate it. Both Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Candance Chow do not support legalizing marijuana.
- Candance Chow is open to taxing public services.
- Mary Rita Luecke has considered raising revenue by taxing financial transactions.
- I will not balance the budget on our lowest wage earners. I am instead investigating creative ways of broadening the tax base.
- I am not a fan of a creating a budget surplus for the sake of a budget surplus. I will only support any such policy if there is a clear plan to put the money to work helping fellow citizens.
There has been some concern that my attacks on Candance’s major public achievement, the School District 65 Referendum, may be unfounded.
Please join me in reviewing what happened with the referendum.
Candance touts her 80% approval rating and how she has changed the face of education for Evanston. Let’s break this down. Candance is the President of the board and proudly raised taxes by doing the following:
- She balanced this tax increase on hard-working people, some without kids that do not benefit from the tax hike. While 80% of the voters who came out supported the referendum, some working class families were concerned that their inability to make it the polls meant that their voices were not heard.
- She made a 5 year promise that included raising scores and the scores are lower than ever before.
- She privatized good paying union jobs and replaced them with corporations. I first learned about this during one of the union endorsement meetings where she looked a guy in the face and told him that people that drive buses are not an integral part of education.
- Many families are upset that the Referendum cut the Mandarin program. This was going to be a key differentiating factor in many students’ resumes as they applied to college. Families are very upset.
The District 65 Referendum shows that raising property taxes will not solve either our district or our state's financial and public services crisis, but actually leads to public services—including the educational services we would like to preserve and protect—getting cut. Clearly, the path forward does not involve raising property taxes. Rather, we should focus on finding new revenue sources, such as marijuana taxation and a graduated income tax.