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Local Editorials

Thumbs up, thumbs down: Parking, safety issue; fees and regressive taxes

THUMBS DOWN ... for, whatever the reason, there being a very private parking lot, usually empty, on the curve at Pulaski Street and U.S. 6 in Peru, while there’s a danger zone for pedestrians, with cars almost always filling the parallel parking spaces on both sides of busy U.S. 6 in that location. Two restaurants have opened and closed to the west of that lot, and there seems to be a lack of good parking there. Another restaurant has yet to open. (That’s a whole separate story in itself.) During daytime hours, pedestrians frequently walk out into traffic from between cars on their way to establishments on the north side of U.S. 6 including White Way and Sajnaj’s, and the pedestrians are not always easy for motorists to see.

This situation has not changed for more than 15 years.

THUMBS UP … to the state of Illinois for a bipartisan effort, approved last week by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, to consolidate 649 downstate and suburban police and firefighter pension funds into just two. It doesn’t solve all of the pension issues in the state, but it should help.

And …

THUMBS UP … to the state for its initial goals to establish dedicated funding sources for road repairs.

But …

THUMBS DOWN … to some of the taxes and fees on tap for Illinois residents in 2020. Some residents of our area choose to stay home and skip some of the activities and events in Chicago because of the fees and taxes that pile up for visitors, starting with parking fees. This new round of increases takes on the same sort of aroma. Who’s looking for a new tax on parking garages of 6% for hourly and daily garages?

Parking fees already have climbed into the $24 per hour range at Grant Park, one of the least expensive, and if you find a good fare on a flight from Chicago for a week-long vacation, parking’s already going to cost you almost $100. On top of that fee, add 6%.

As aggravating as those fees are, they’re not a necessity for most residents of La Salle, Bureau, Putnam, Marshall and Lee counties.

Come January, the license fees for trailers weighing zero to 3,000 pounds will go up from $18 to $118. For anglers, boaters or jet-ski enthusiasts, that makes a hobby more expensive. For people who pull a trailer for a lawn mower or concrete work, that’s a tax against their business.

We understand the reason the state is bumping up some fees, such as license plate stickers from $101 to $151, to provide funds for a capital improvement plan.

But where do these taxes and fees end?

You could think of them as luxury taxes in some cases.

But for people who use a work truck plus a trailer to make a living, what could be more regressive?

Where does this end?

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