JOY IN BEAUTY
In his 1912 tract, “The Gospel of Beauty,” Vachel Lindsay wrote, “The things most worthwhile are one’s own hearth and neighborhood.” Lindsay specifically highlighted children in this neighborhood, wishing them artistic inspiration and industry. As such, I was so pleased to see your recent article about a visit by Lindsay’s granddaughter, Louisa Lindsay-Sprouse, to Springfield and its schools. [See “A creative visit from Vachel Lindsay’s granddaughter,” by Karen Fitzgerald, Nov. 17.] In a time when words often are used to belittle and divide, the Vachel Lindsay Association strives to remind people – especially Springfield’s children – that words can also craft “joy in beauty.” Sponsoring Louisa’s recent school workshops is just one way that the Association tries to accomplish this goal. Anyone can join our efforts – by becoming a VLA member, visiting the Vachel Lindsay Home or sharing words of joy and beauty with the children in their life. Thanks, Illinois Times, for being a part of our “little circle.”
Lisa Higgs, VLA president
Last week’s letter by Michael Abrams of Springfield (“Statehouse Fun”) noted that voters can “retire” members of the legislature by voting them out of office. Voters would hope that they have selected a replacement legislator whose political work would better reflect their own views. However one must consider that the two major political parties that we have created are well-maintained “sausage factories” that churn out candidates whose primary loyalty is to the party. The Democrat and Republican parties run the country.
So, go ahead and vote against Sen. or Rep. So-and-so in favor of the challenger and what have you really gained? Not much, because the replacement legislator is probably just another product from the other “sausage factory.” This situation is so firmly entrenched that voting out any incumbent would not create much of a difference. The only way to begin to chip away at this situation would be to vote for third party candidates. Another way is to make term limits (perhaps a single term in office) mandatory, but the legislators would have to vote to make that change and the chances of that happening are slim indeed.
PASS TAX RELIEF
Despite recent job gains nationally that helped reduce the national unemployment rate to 8.6 percent, Illinois’ unemployment rate remains mired in double digits, meaning that hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans are not working. While government does not create jobs, it can help foster an economic climate that encourages job creation and investment by the private sector across the entire state.
As we approach the holiday season, it is vital that lawmakers return to the State Capitol to finish the important first step in reforming the tax system so that job creators feel confident to hire and put people back to work.
The current package under consideration at the Capitol provides nearly $250 million in tax relief for businesses and individuals. It stimulates manufacturing and innovation by extending the research and development tax credit in Illinois that is vital to many sectors.
Our tax code will be updated to reflect the changing economy and help Illinois remain competitive for firms such as the CME Group. Targeted tax relief will be provided to Sears in exchange for keeping thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in Illinois.
The package contains tens of millions of dollars in tax relief for thousands of Illinoisans who will see an increase in the personal exemption and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
As the clock winds down on 2011 and more than 630,000 Illinoisans remain out of work, we cannot let the perfect get in the way of the possible at the State Capitol.
Signed by executives of Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Illinois Retail Merchants Association and other business groups