Dear Editor:

In his letter of Nov. 27-28 (Mirror-Democrat/Times-Journal), David Hanson made a number of misleading, even false, statements.

He speaks of the "Chicago oligarchy ruling in Springfield." A recent study by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University confirms an earlier study.

Downstate counties, for the most part, get back more in revenue than what they send to Springfield. For example, for every dollar St. Clair County sends to the state, it receives $1.10 back. Clinton County gets $2.42. In contrast, Chicago gets only 80 cents back for every dollar it puts in the state coffers.

In 2017 Chicago received $221 million from the state to cover pension costs. Then-governor Bruce Rauner called it a "bailout," a claim Politifact rated "false." The state had long subsidized teacher pensions for every other Illinois school district except Chicago.

And perhaps David has forgotten the 1995 state law passed by the legislature that drastically restricted the collective bargaining rights of education unions in districts with a population of 500,000 or greater — a laughable limitation proving the law was meant only for Chicago.

The law resulted in Chicago's overcrowded classrooms, inadequate privatized services and worsening staffing levels that left three-out-of-four Chicago public schools — and nine out of 10 schools in predominantly black neighborhoods — without a librarian. Most Chicagoans think that if there is indeed an "oligarchy," it consists of downstate legislators.

David speaks of "the Marxists running for president on the Democrat [sic] ticket." I hesitate to give a lesson in grammar to a highly-educated doctor, but "Republican" is both a noun and an adjective. "Democrat," however, is a noun only. The proper adjective is "Democratic."

More to the point, Marxism is not the same as socialism, and not one of the Democratic candidates is a Marxist. And David's implication that taxes are "Marxist" shows a lack of knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. The 16th Amendment grants the government the power to tax income.

Our taxes are too high? We can't afford the Green New Deal? In 2018, as a result of Republican tax cuts in 2017, Amazon paid no federal income tax despite $11 billion in profits. According to a 2017 Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy study, Facebook paid a federal income tax rate of just 16.5 percent (less than half the 35 percent statutory rate in effect at the time) on its $14.8 billion in pre-tax U.S. profits between 2010-15.

Billionaires fleeing to states with no state income tax? According to research from ITEP, these states place an unfair burden not on the wealthy, but on the poor. From bankrate.com: "The reason is the lowest earners in the state devote the lion's share of their take-home pay to buying things that are subject to sales taxes. The wealthy, who can save a chunk of their income in their 401(k)s and other investments, have a much smaller proportional exposure to the sales tax."

Medicare for All too costly? Research shows that 66.6 percent of all bankruptcies were tied to medical issues — high costs or time out of work. An estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcies each year because of medical issues and bills.

We need fairer taxes, both state and federal, and corporations and the wealthy must pay their fair share. A graduated state income tax would be more equitable.

We need a better medical system, and we need to lower the exorbitant prices of many prescription drugs.

We need to educate all Illinois children and to maintain the excellence of our state colleges and universities, and yet we don't want students to graduate with thousands of dollars in debt.

And unlike David Hanson and some of our representatives, we need to work with Chicagoans to improve the lot of Illinoisans across the state.

Pat Wemstrom

Mount Carroll