Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tuesdays with Paulie 7/1/08

Chicago sales tax hits 10.25%
NY and LA glad to not be the windy city

A very good friend of mine just moved to Chicago from the east coast recently and was complaining about the city sales tax. Unfortunately for him as well as residents of Chicago and Cook county, taxes are about to get worse.

Today in Cook county, which incorporates Chicago, sales tax will increase an additional 1%. Chicago which also has it's own additional taxes will hit consumers with a 10.25% total tax rate on goods such as electronics, clothes, furniture, alcohol and restaurant food. Most other communities will pay between 9.75 and 10 percent sales tax. Chicago already had the highest sales tax in the country and it just got worse. Meanwhile suburban residents will pay higher taxes than residents of New York City and Los Angeles.

Making matters worse is the new tax-hike comes 3 months after a quarter point increase was instituted to help pay for the public train system. Areas in that debacle include communities where the train doesn't operate.

Tax increases of this magnitude pay for one thing and one thing only...corruption, political corruption. Patronage jobs and bloated government contracts are provided on the backs of the poor. These tax hikes won't kill me or my family. Besides, I can drive 2 minutes north and pay nearly four percent less for big ticket items. The single mother on Chicago's south side, working two jobs to pay rent and keep the heat on in the winter is who gets screwed. She doesn't have a car or live close enough to drive out of the county. Her wallet is a slave to the Cook county Democratic machine.

People get the government they deserve. The con-artists such as Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, the board commissioners who ok'd the tax, Mayor Daley and his brother John continue to get re-elected because of the (D) next to their name on the ballot. If voters are unwilling to consider integrity and character when voting, they have no right to complain.

The Chicago Tribune deserves enormous credit for educating their readers on the real story behind the tax increase and who's benefiting. Instead of your brilliant blogger explaining the corruption and facts behind the Stroger-Daley tax increase, I strongly urge my readers to check out a recent editorial that does just that.

In the mean time my wife wants me to buy her a Wii Fit. I assure you it won't be at a store in Chicago or Cook County.

Smoking ban defied by bar owner
Taylorville bar patrons gives state of Illinois the finger

People are often stunned to learn that your brilliant blogger adamantly opposes smoking ban laws. As a Cancer survivor, I'm supposed to automatically support legislation that forbids smoking regardless of the situation. While it is true that I believe smoking is a horrible habit, the last thing I want to see is the government tell a private business what they can or cannot do.

In the small town of Taylorville about a half hour south of the Illinois capital of Springfield, bar owner Gary McWard is proudly ignoring recent state laws that forbid smoking inside any public or private establishment.

A no smoking sign is posted at the door of his establishment called the "American Tap." However patrons sit at the bar knowingly breaking the law as they share cigarettes and cigars with McWard. "I told the health department weeks ago, 'Go ahead and fine me,' " said McWard. "And I'm still waiting."

While your brilliant blogger does not usually advocate breaking the law, our country has a proud history of citizens standing up to the government when the law is unjust. Granted permitting smoking is not in the same ball park as the civil rights movement, McWard is standing up for freedom and personal choice.

As a business owner it should be his choice and his alone to decide what can and cannot go on in his private business. He is not permitting illegal drug use or prostitution, he wants people to be able to use a product they can buy at a nearby gas station.

Paulies Point commends Gary McWard for sticking up for his rights as a private business owner and citizen. While I strongly urge him and his patrons to quit smoking because take it from me, chemotherapy is not fun, you have the right to puff away in private or inside an establishment who's owner permits you to indulge your addiction.

Paulie hits 60
Five months after procedure, so far so good

My readers will recall that in February I announced that I had undergone lap-band surgery to help me battle my weight issues. I am happy to announce that five months later I have lost 60 pounds.

While my battle still has a ways to go and it has been harder than I thought it would be, the only regret I have is not having the procedure years earlier.

A few friends of mine have voiced their concern aboyt me going public with my weight issues. They are concerned that this can be used against me by those who would wan to discredit and or silent my voice. I appreciate their love for me, but having this procedure I feel is to my credit.

As a husband and father, my health has no room for pride. My responsibility is to be around for my family, especially my children. The procedure is not a guarantee of weight loss, far from it. A tool is how it is described by the medical community and that is exactly what it is.

I will continue to publicize my progress and encourage anyone who has considered the procedure to contact me with any questions.



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