Many do not want to speak out because their children our in school and they fear retaliation. But what kind of burden are you leaving for your children when they are taxpayers and parents? The public school employees will only become more wealthy and powerful and more difficult to fight.
School employees will be laughing all the way to the bank with retirement at age 55 and piles of money while your children will have to work well past 70 to pay for the tax burdens that you left because you refused to fight for education spending reform.
The following is a news release from National Taxpayers United of Illinois.
NTU NEWS RELEASE
NATIONAL TAXPAYERS UNITED OF ILLINOIS
407 S. Dearborn, Suite 1170 * CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 60605
(312) 427-5128 * Fax (312) 427-5139 * Web Site
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2006
(773) 354-2076 (Cell)
STATE'S ATTORNEY STONEWALLS MORTON DIST. 201 ELECTION INTERFERENCE ACT PROBE
CHICAGO-The president of Illinois' largest taxpayer organization today charged that the staff of the Public Corruption and Financial Crimes Division of the Cook County State's Attorney office has let taxpayers down by stonewalling a probe into violations of the Illinois Election Interference Statute (10 ILCS 5/9-25.1) by J. Sterling Morton High School Dist. 201. The alleged violations occurred when the district sought a property-tax increase of about $400 a year for the average homeowner through a referendum on the March 21, 2006, ballot.
"The local newspaper, The Life, reported that a fax machine with a phone number belonging to the Superintendent of Dist. 201 was used to promote a fundraiser of a political committee promoting the tax hike," said Jim Tobin, President of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTU). "Additionally, the paper reported that some district employees complained they had been forced to work on the campaign during school hours."
The paper also stated that a "Vote Yes" banner was hung on school property, that cheerleaders passed out pro-referendum ribbons during a school basketball game, and that the school web site displayed a message urging a "yes" vote.
"NTU sent a letter to Mary Bucaro at the Cook County State's Attorney's office on March 9, and a second letter on March 13, detailing evidence of the violations," said Tobin. "In a phone conversation that took place in mid-March, Ms. Bucaro told me the court's standards of evidence are high, and that courts want to see a 'line item' for political activity in the budget. She said that if I knew anyone with 'first-hand evidence,' these persons could call her, but otherwise she couldn't do anything."
The NTU staff spoke with a Dist. 201 parent, who called Ms. Bucaro and related a first-hand account of a superintendent and a principal from a public high school speaking and distributing pro-property-tax-hike literature on school grounds. Ms. Bucaro was unconcerned, and wanted to know only who paid for the literature and other materials promoting the referendum.
On May 25, NTU Executive Director, Jeffrey Babbitt, called Ms. Bucaro, and when she returned the call, she left a message that the State's Attorney Office would be taking "no additional action" because the evidence NTU presented "did not rise to the level of the very strict interpretation that the courts have made of the Election Interference statute in terms of actual expenditure of government moneys...promoting...a subjective 'yes' vote."
On June 15 Mr. Babbitt spoke to Ms. Bucaro's junior colleague, Lynn McCarthy, asking for clarification on what would "rise to the level" that courts expect. Ms. McCarthy told him that there was no easily accessible case law because "there aren't a lot of cases that go forward under this law."
"The lethargy of the State's Attorney's office in this matter is stunning,"= said Babbitt. "Laws get passed supposedly to protect voters and taxpayers, but these laws mean nothing unless they are enforced and honored by the judicial system."
Founded in 1976, NTU is the largest taxpayer organization in Illinois with over 10,000 members and affiliation with more than 200 local taxpayer groups. ###