A number of things are happening in government all over this land, and as the weather cools and we come inside from the rain after two months of scorching drought, a lot of people are probably just noticing it.
Violence talks continue
The Decatur NAACP came to Monday's City Council meeting, with President Jeffrey Perkins calling for more leadership from the council in the face of the rash of shooting deaths that have occurred in the city over the summer.
It's true that Decatur has faced what can only be described as ridiculous levels of pointless and distressingly random violence lately. At the same time, police have consistently made arrests. Here in the newsroom, we've been following the incidents as they occur, and the red tape, courtroom action, and tragedy that pass in their wake. It's tiring.
The NAACP was respectful in its attendance and Perkins was forceful in his address. There was talk at the meeting of reinstating town meetings, as the council has done in the past, and City Manager Ryan McCrady said city staff will be trying to bring different community groups together to see how they can work creatively to solve problems.
McCrady was also right when he said a variety of issues lead to crime and there's no single solution to them.
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Elementary school teacher Sue Scherer has let local media know she is running for state Representative in the 96th District, which includes downtown Decatur and Springfield's east side. Representatives for Scherer have said she's running as a Democrat. Somebody with her campaign said Monday she has planned a formal announcement in the coming days.
She'll be challenging Winston Taylor, a former Decatur resident who currently works as a legislative liaison for a couple of state agencies, in the Democratic primary election. So far, we haven't heard anything definitive from a Republican candidate for this oh-so-gerrymandered seat, and former Macon County GOP Chairman Jerry Stocks sounded as if he'd more or less given up on it before he stepped down.
Let's just cut some more taxes
Tom Cross briefly visited Decatur Monday to speak about $500 million in tax cuts the Illinois GOP is proposing as a means to stimulate some job growth. Most notable among them is likely the Net Operating Loss tax deduction, essentially a means of writing off your business' deficit when you file your taxes, which is a neat trick. Also included were extending the Enterprise Zones in the state another 20 years, increasing the exemption on the estate tax to $5 million (it's currently $2 million), and making permanent R&D tax credits for businesses.
Cross cited a figure saying this would create 60,000 jobs, and when I asked him from where he got it, his answer was vague.
There are no guarantees with any legislation of course, but this one forgoes half a billion dollars in revenue that the state needs. Cross's party has been demanding deficit reduction for years, and I'm not sure how this will help that.