Your Move, Governor
By Margaret Lyons in News on Jan 10, 2008 9:56PM
Update: The transit bill has landed on Blago's desk! The Senate approved the sales-tax plan, and now all we need is Blagojevich's signature to save 81 bus routes, 2,400 jobs and all of our sanity. [ABC 7, S-T]
Another Update: The Governor now says he'll only sign the bill if legislators add free bus and train rides for senior citizens. Whiskey tango foxtrot. In the Gov's press release, he "says,"
I’m particularly concerned about seniors who live on fixed incomes and who don’t have the ability to absorb a higher sales tax without making cuts in other areas. That’s why I will rewrite the bill to allow all senior citizens in Illinois to take public transportation for free.
Now the bill's going back to the legislature.
How about another update: State Rep Julie Hamos, the bill's chief sponsor, apparently tried to get Blago to at least make his farkakte plan a separate "trailer" bill that could be passed later. But his aides said no.
And we still can't figure out why Blagojevich's proposal is just for senior citizens--and not, say, anyone below the poverty line, or even just seniors on fixed incomes. (According to the Illinois Department on Aging, there are over 40,00 people in Chicago over 65 living in poverty.) RTA executive director Steve Schlickman estimates the free rides will cost the CTA $20 million per year. [Crains]