A Lake County teacher union president stirred controversy last week when he mocked Lake County taxpayers who oppose Illinois' recent 67 percent income tax hike as "anti-tax zealots" and "Teabaggers."
"Dear anti-tax zealot," Illinois Federation of Teachers Local 540's president Mike McGue wrote, "I know you'd like nothing more than to take jobs away from the public sector so you can keep more for yourself. I also know that Teabaggers have convinced you that the only race worth competing is the "race-to-the-bottom."
McGue's stinging words were part of a column in the Lake County Teacher Federation's December 2011 newsletter found in the teacher and staff mailboxes at the Zion-Benton Township High School last Friday.
At least one Lake County taxpayer that pays the salaries of the 5,500 members of the Lake County Federation of Teachers found McGue's comments insulting. Lennie Jarratt, GOP candidate for the Illinois Senate, who's also been active in the Lake County Tea Party, wrote a public response to McGue's newsletter after receiving a copy from two teachers.
"Businesses and families are leaving Lake County and the State of Illinois. Yet we have people like you, Mr. McGue, calling people names and making personal attacks," Jarratt wrote. "You are even using your position as LCFT President and your relationship with the Benton Teacher Union President, your wife Corrine, to bully and intimidate the District 126 community."
In his letter, Jarratt listed the various high prices Lake County taxpayers are paying in the Zion-Benton Township High School District 126:
- Property taxes in Lake County are the highest in the Midwest
- Property taxes in Lake County are the 16th highest in the country
- Illinois unemployment rate has risen from 9.0% to 10% since the Legislature passed the 66% tax increase on individuals and 45% on corporations
- 1 in 158 homes in Zion received foreclosure notices in October
- 1 in 271 homes in Lake County received foreclosure notices in October
Now I'm sure that many of you reading this who are earning every cent of your income from tax revenue will intuitively understand the information from my letter above, so please feel free to use this information next time that foam-mouthing public employee hater you know starts in on one of their rants. Sure, I know many of you don't relish the confrontation, but let's not let our potential discomfort let the anti-tax zealot get away with bullying his "less-is-more" agenda. (Enlarge graphic to right)
The LCFT office was contacted Monday morning to confirm whether or not the newsletter column originated with LCFT President McGue. The office acknowledged receiving a copy of the newsletter page. We were told the newsletter had been forwarded to President McGue and that he would get back with us. He has not yet emailed or called back a reply - either a confirmation or a denial that the column is his words.
Illinois Review has received confirmation, however, that the newsletter containing the column was distributed at the Zion-Benton Township High School last week.
McGue's letter: Download LCFT President article Dec 2011
Jarratt's response: Download McGue_1211_response