Of course they can, Artur Honegger.
But the benefit, if it is to be rescinded at this time, will be long in the history books; somehow "He kept me from having my free METRA rides" hardly resonates to the extent as does "He raised my taxes..."; and to those Seniors, for whom as explained in the following paragraph, the ride means more than the taxes (because they don't lawfully pay any), will still have their free ride.
Again allow me to reiterate that Seniors who meet the needs tests already established under the State's existing "Circuit Breaker" program will continue to have free mass transit available as a benefit through that program. The people like myself (reside in DuPage County and "comfortable plus" in retirement) will rightfully be excluded beyond the half rate concession provided under Federal law. What I'll miss the most will be the convenience; I've forgotten what it is to stand in line at the CUS ticket cage. If a "flash pass" were to be offered to disqualified Seniors for, say, $50 a year, I'd take it in a heartbeat - and would not have any compulsion to take METRA joyrides just to get my money's worth.
Finally, let's take a peek at this non-rail editorial appearing in Yesterday's Times; I knew from the get go, albeit from my perspective as a retired CPA, that Illinois has now simply "caught up" with other states, and has hardly become some kind of 'tax hell":
- The action was immediately ridiculed by several governors around the nation who are still pretending that they can cut their way out of the enormous shortfalls they face, without raising taxes. Wisconsin and Indiana predicted a windfall of angry corporations and residents would head their way from Illinois. Even Gov. Chris Christie, the New Jersey Republican, vowed to fly to Illinois to invite businesses there to defect to his state.
That makes great political theater. But businesses and voters in Illinois, and around the country, should take a closer look at the facts and figures, including their own.
After 22 years of not raising income taxes, Illinois saw its budget shortfall grow to $15 billion. It had the lowest state credit rating in the nation, and it wasn’t paying its bills to hospitals and schools.
The Illinois tax rate was low before and remains low for big states. The income tax will rise from a flat 3 percent to a flat 5 percent. That will cause pain at the lower and middle levels of the economic scale, but the state’s millionaires will probably stay put. (The top rate is 10.55 percent in California, 8.97 percent in New Jersey and New York, and 7.75 percent in Wisconsin.)