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New guidelines for writing, submitting a letter to the editor
  We at the Lombardian and Villa Park Review encourage our readers to reach out to the community by writing a letter to the editor.
    Letters are limited to 400 words; if a letter exceeds 400 words, it will be sent back to the author to reduce the length of the letter. Authors should include a phone number where they can be reached in case of questions. E-mail letters to: news1@rvpublishing.com. Our fax number is: 630-627-7027.
    Letter-writers will be limited to one letter per month except for locally elected officials, or individuals specifically associated with local village governments or entities such as school districts, park districts or library districts.
    No letters directed to a third party will be accepted for publication.
We reserve the right to edit a letter for reasons of clarity, space restrictions and libel.


A heartfelt thank-you to Lombard postal workers

We are so quick to criticize our U.S. Post Office these days. “The mail is
late,” “The mail is misdirected,” etc.
Some of it may be justified, but in reality, when delivery people are asked
to take over routes they’re not familiar with, or when they’re asked to do
back to back routes, taking them long into the evening hours of being on their
feet, mistakes will become inevitable.
The problem, in my opinion, lies with supervisory personnel, and with a
budget that doesn’t allow them to hire more workers. That might mean we
have to pay a few pennies more for our mail, but is it not worth it?
Where else can you drop a letter in the mailbox and have it reach its destination
hundreds or thousands of miles away in just a day or two? It’s one of
the great American bargains.
This letter would not be complete without a special recognition for a job
well done, above and beyond what should be expected of anyone.
We had our mail delivered at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 2. The wind chill
was anywhere from 20 to 25 below, depending upon the strength of the gusts.
I, for one, could have had my mail delivery postponed until the next day,
so at the very least, they could have been out there in the daylight. The mail
being delayed for several hours would not cause anyone’s life to be in danger.
Maybe there are times when we expect too much of those who serve us.
But at the very least, they should know that we appreciate what they do.
Thank you, postal workers!

Sherron Schiewe, Paul Kozlowski, Lombard

Like a good neighbor: Illinois sees record loss of
people to nearby states

Columnist for the Illinois Policy

New IRS data show the Land of
Lincoln is bleeding a record number
of people to its neighboring states.
While it’s not pretty, it’s the
truth. And Springfield refuses to
take note.
In tax year 2015 (2015-2016),
21,800 more people “walked out”
of Illinois to each of its neighboring
states than walked in from those
states. Measured by exemptions on
tax returns, that was Illinois’ highest
loss of people to neighboring
states on record.
Wisconsin (with a net gain
of 6,000 Illinoisans), Michigan
(2,500), Indiana (8,200), Kentucky
(1,100), Missouri (2,000) and Iowa
(1,900) all won their “border wars”
with Illinois.
But why?
We know from the Paul Simon
Public Policy Institute at Southern
Illinois University that the No. 1
reason Illinoisans cite for wanting
to leave the state is taxes. And economic
analysis can shed some light
on what might be driving shorter
moves across the state border. Research
shows that while longer-distance
moves are driven predominantly
by employment, shorter-distance
moves are driven more by
That means Illinois property taxes,
which are often so high they can
act as a second mortgage, could really
hurt the Land of Lincoln when
families are comparing home prices
in their community with a nearby
location in another state.
Of course, those who leave take
their incomes with them. The Land
of Lincoln lost more than $720 million
in adjusted gross income, or
AGI, on net to neighboring states in
2015-2016, and lost $4.7 billion in
AGI to the rest of the nation as a
An eroding tax base means Illinoisans
who remain get squeezed
even more for the surging cost of
Cities, villages and school districts
across the state are hiking
property taxes to pay for legacy
costs that just keep growing.
One canary in the coal mine
might be the city of Danville. Just a
few miles from the Indiana border,
it’s saddled with more than $100
million in local pension debt. Local
leaders’ hands are tied by state law
when bargaining with government
worker unions, so spending reform
is difficult, meaning tax hikes are
one of the only levers available to
fix holes in the city’s budget.
The result? Danville property
owners now pay a dedicated pension
fee of up to $1,020 a year. It
can be tough to attract needed investment
with a deal like that, and
easy to move a matter of minutes to
avoid the cost. The same goes for
plenty of other communities in Illinois.
Just look at the Quad Cities,
where the population on the Iowa
side of the metro area (Scott County)
grew by more than 4 percent
since 2010. Meanwhile, the Illinois
side shrunk, with Rock Island and
Henry counties seeing their popu-
lations drop by 1.9 percent and 2.3
percent, respectively.
To many observers, Illinois’ loss
of people is a damning indictment
of its policy choices. A Midwestern
state that’s unfriendly to small businesses
and that passed a massive tax
hike in the middle of a recession recovery
in 2011—all while residents
already were paying some of the nation’s
highest property taxes—isn’t
worth emulating.
But the crowd selling a progressive
income tax hike as the cure-all
for Illinois’ woes has found a new
battle cry against any real reform:
“Look, Minnesota!”
Indeed, Minnesota was a rare
state in the region to see a small net
gain in people from other states last
year, according to the U.S. Census
Bureau. So are people really choosing
Minnesota because of a progressive
income tax?
Lyman Stone, a U.S. Department
of Agriculture economist and demographer,
poses a more likely explanation:
“Commentators have attributed
Minnesota’s [recession] recovery to
its tax policies, revenue-sharing and
education, and other factors,” Stone
“Unfortunately, those theories
are probably all wrong. Simply put,
the real reason for Minnesota’s relatively
low unemployment rate and
faster recovery is oil.”
Neighboring North Dakota’s oil
boom provided opportunities for
thousands of predominantly young,
less-educated Minnesotans. Now
that the boom has receded, is it any
wonder those workers would be returning
home? Minnesota has only
enjoyed an upward tick in residents
from other states in the last two
years, according to census data, just
as the oil rush petered out next door.
Also worth considering: IRS data
show that over the last five years,
Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa
and Michigan all gained more Illinoisans
on net than Minnesota.
Dropping another tax hike on a
shrinking Illinois population and
sputtering state economy remains a
dangerous game—especially when
the money won’t really go to new
or improved services. The entirety
of the $5 billion tax increase state
lawmakers passed in the summer,
for example, will be eaten up by
pension payments.
Solving Illinois’ people problem
requires addressing the high cost of
government, which makes the state
far less attractive for people looking
to plant roots.
Anyone who refuses to even pay
lip service to that sad reality is telling
fairy tales.