By: Mark Glennon*
Where, but in Illinois, would an advocacy group that claims people don’t move because of high taxes get grants for economic development? That’s the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, which also supports pretty much every tax and spending idea that comes along.
Buried in the 3,425-page appropriation bill approved by the General Assembly yesterday as part of Illinois’ new budget, are two grants of $250,000 each to the CTBA from Illinois’ Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for “expenses associated with public safety and economic development.” (Pages 308 and 310.)
The CTBA has long been Illinois’ leading organization favoring higher taxes, more government spending and more of whatever public unions want. Most recently, it called for expansion of Illinois’ estate tax by lowering the exclusion amount thereby subjecting more Illinois estates to the tax. They’ve long denied that migration out of high tax states has anything to do with taxes. Public unions have traditionally been heavy CTBA supporters.
And that’s who Illinois turns to for help on economic development?
Its Executive Director, Ralph Martire, who is also a professor at Roosevelt University, had an enlightening exchange caught on an open mic that we wrote about a couple years ago.
“Social justice” is “all day every day” he says in his classrooms. He went on: “I always flip out the kids that take my master’s class on fiscal policy and public budgets within the first three or four classes that are devoted to philosophy of social justice and how you organize society. We don’t talk about one, you know, budgetary item. They’re like, Oh, man. Professor Martire, this is a really weird way to teach a budget,” [laughter].
There’s not necessarily any legal problem with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit like the CTBA getting government grants, and it may well be that the CTBA will be delivering on specific projects for the state. We don’t know what the grants were for, specifically, so we’ve reached out to the CTBA for a description, and will update if we get a response.
Regardless of that, we thought you would like to know that your tax dollars are going for grants to a group advocating for higher taxes and expansion of state power. Since we are on the opposite side of the CTBA on most everything, we obviously think the CTBA is not where economic development dollars should be going.
Salute to the person on Twitter who brought this to our attention who goes by @CitizenVMachine. Follow that on Twitter for regular, great tidbits on bad things happening in Illinois government, particularly in campaign finance. And, to have found these grants, the person behind it no doubt read the massive, new budget legislation more closely than most of our legislators did.
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.