Good Bye and Good Luck (from Roger)

I ran against Roger Keats for Cook County Board President last year. He was the Republican candidate and I was the Green Party candidate.

I got this email from him today. He says he will moving with his wife to The Hill Country near Austin, Texas.

As we leave Illinois for good, I wanted to say goodbye to my friends and wish all of you well.  I am a lifelong son of the heartland and proud of it.  After 60 years, I leave Illinois with a heavy heart.  BUT enough is enough!  The leaders of Illinois refuse to see we can’t continue going in the direction we are and expect people who have options to stay here.  I remember when Illinois had 25 congressmen.  In 2012 we will have 18.  Compared to the rest of the country we have lost 1/4rd of our population.  Don’t blame the weather, because I love 4 seasons.

Illinois just sold still more bonds and our credit rating is so bad we pay higher interest rates than junk bonds! Junk Bonds!  Illinois is ranked 50th for fiscal policy; 47th in job creation; 1st in unfunded pension liabilities; 2nd largest budget deficit; 1st in failing schools; 1st in bonded indebtedness; highest sales tax in the nation; most judges indicted (Operations Greylord and Gambat); and 5 of our last 9 elected governors have been indicted.  That is more than the other 49 states added together!  Then add 32 Chicago Aldermen and (according to the Chicago Tribune) over 1000 state and municipal employees indicted.  The corruption tax is a real cost of doing business.  We are the butt of jokes for stand up comics.

We live in the most corrupt big city, in the most corrupt big county in the most corrupt state in America.  I am sick and tired of subsidizing crooks.  A day rarely passes without an article about the corruption and incompetence.  Chicago even got caught rigging the tests to hire police and fire!  Our Crook County CORPORATE property tax system is intentionally corrupt.  The Democrat State Chairman who is also the Speaker of the Illinois House and the most senior alderman in Chicago each make well over a million dollars a year putting the fix in for their client’s tax assessments.

We are moving to Texas where there is no income tax while Illinois’ just went up 67%.  Texas’ sales tax is ½ of ours, which is the highest in the nation.  Southern states are supportive of job producers, tax payers and folks who offer opportunities to their residents.  Illinois shakes them down for every penny that can be extorted from them.

In The Hill Country of Texas (near Austin and San Antonio) we bought a gracious home on almost 2 acres with a swimming pool.  It is new, will cost us around 40% of what our home in Wilmette just sold for and the property taxes are 1/3rd of what they are here.  Crook County’s property tax system is a disaster: Wilmette homes near ours sell for 50% more and their property taxes are ½ of ours.  Our assessed home value was 50% higher than the sales price.  The system is unfair and incompetent.

Our home value is down 40%, our property taxes are up 20% and our local schools have still another referendum on the ballot to increase taxes over 20% in one year.  I could go on, but enough is enough.  I feel as if we are standing on the deck of the Titanic and I can see the icebergs right in front of us.  I will miss our friends a great deal.  I have called Illinois home for essentially my entire life.  But it is time to go where there is honest, competent and cost effective government.  We have chosen to vote with our feet and our wallets.  My best to all of you and Good luck!

Roger A. Keats

Wow. I got to know Roger during our campaign and I like him. We agreed on a lot more than we disagreed on. We even issued an unprecedented joint campaign statement aimed at getting the Democratic candidate to come on to a real reform band-wagon. When a long-time public servant like Roger calls it quits, it must be bad. Real bad. I confess, I can see how he feels. I get pretty dis-spirited sometimes. I’m trying to make a difference – I spent a year of my life with other intrepid volunteers working on No Games Chicago. Then I ran for office. Now I’m trying to launch The TIF Project. I haven’t been in Illinois for 60 years – just 30. I hope and prey I can make a difference before I reach the boiling point that Roger has reached and passed.

%d bloggers like this: