Bob Fioretti, who is running for Cook County Board president against Toni Preckwinkle (D-Chicago), recently spoke to "Chicago's Morning Answer" radio show about a number of issues Fioretti thinks are important to residents in his area.
“I think there have been a whole host of issues over the last eight years,” Fioretti said, suggesting that with the incumbent politicians, voters wanted one thing and got something else.
Fioretti also blasted what he called “out-of-control” taxation.
“Where we are, a penny saved is not a penny earned; it's a penny taxed,” he said of Preckwinkle’s beverage tax, lamenting the“senseless” taxes that he says push people and businesses out of Cook County and often out of the state.
Instead of raising taxes, Fioretti said, the state and local municipalities need to cut spending.
“Cook County has a budget that does not need any increase in taxes,” Fioretti said. “We need a government that can live within its means.”He suggested that instead of driving out people with higher taxes, municipalities should be promoting laws that welcome people to the state.
“It's almost not sustainable,” Fioretti said of the status quo, suggesting that voters need to “tame the beasts” of state and local taxation increases.
Fioretti also responded to a question from broadcaster Amy Jacobson about an incident in which Jacobson suggested he was locked out of areas at a local school during an event during the tenure of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“You have to laugh at some of these politicians and what they do,” Fioretti said in response.
Going back to the tax burden, Fioretti said underassessments of high-value properties push more of the tax burden onto the average resident's plate.
“Who pays for it?” Fioretti asked. He asserted that taxpayers have to pay more when higher value properties are not properly assessed.
His opponent, he said, hasn't worked on reforms for this issue.
“Once you make it fair and equitable, you do have a lower property tax,” Fioretti said.
Fioretti also talked about changes to campaign finance and suggested that a law firm that does property tax work had provided under $25,000 to an incumbent politician in his area.
“We have to look at what's happening here,” Fioretti said.“It's all for their own business interests.”
Fioretti said he's willing to take on House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) to try to get residents lower property taxes.
“It's all a system of helping each other, here, and it's not helping the people who need it the most,” Fioretti said, responding to Jacobson's assertion that Madigan works for a private company that helps businesses get lower property tax rates. “We have to look at the conflict of interest.”
On salaries and pensions, Fioretti said it's important for politicians to sit down and negotiate on behalf of the taxpayers. If not, he said, politicians aren't really working for their constituents.
“You have betrayed the people of the county,” Fioretti said of a scenario in which a politician would give away aspects of a contract to unions at the expense of the tax base. “It's unacceptable.”
Dan Proft, a co-host of "Chicago's Morning Answer," is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.