As an Illinois taxpayer, you’re on your own

As an Illinois taxpayer, you’re on your own

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New change in Secretary of State’s office puts bigger burden on Illinois senior citizens and elderly. It could be a real problem for many

By Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Fortunately, my wife is younger than I am. She reminded me this week that I needed to renew the license plate sticker for my car.

Had she not said anything, I would have forgotten. I would be driving down construction-burdened La Grange Road to my consulting offices only to be stopped by a Police Officer who would pull me over and give me a ticket for having an expired vehicle license plate sticker.

The ticket would be at least $75 (it varies around the state) and there would be a $20 late fee. Assuming I went right away to get the new sticker, that is. I could be stopped several times, ticketed and life would really be bad.

And, if it is a typical day for me, I’d be mouthing off to the police officer who would respond by pulling out his taser and excessively shocking me until I have a heart attack. I’ve seen it happen too often in the news lately.

The cop would be criticized for killing me, and racism. I’m not African American, I’m Arab, which is Black to White people, White to Black people, and invisible to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who may I remind you again, cancelled the annual Arab Heritage Month that has been a Chicago tradition for 25 years or more.


The point being, when it rains it pours and one problem is always quickly compounded into many others.

Secretary of State Jessie White stopped sending reminder notices to motorists to renew their license plate stickers to save the State of Illinois $5.5 million.

It won’t save Illinois taxpayers anything. Illinois is so far in debt that $5.5 million is the equivalent of saving each of the state’s nearly 13 million people a measly – and I stress measly – 42 cents, which isn’t even enough to mail a letter.

Assuming I don’t get tasered — and my survivors don’t file a discrimination lawsuit against the police (insert the word “taxpayers”) and win $10 million — I figure 20 percent of the state’s drivers will get tickets.

Is it a coincidence that the state has 5.5 million motorists? Hmmmm! That’s $1 each motorist being saved, and if 20 percent get tickets, that means taxpayers will end up paying $1.1 million in tickets and fines (on average).

(Remember, last week I wrote about how screwed up our schools are so I figured I’d better do the math for you, although you might want to double check my numbers.)

The point is … are we really saving money?

This is a new trend in our society. I had planned to write about the screwed up Medicare system and social security system that requires aging senior citizens to file 3 months before they reach their 65th birthday. If they don’t, they can be fined or lose benefits, too.

I see a pattern here. That’s because I believe in conspiracies, like the coordinated murder of John F. Kennedy. One idiot and military slacker managed to get off four shots and hit Kennedy in a moving vehicle from a six-story window twice? I doubt it.

No. They take our money and make us responsible for doing the work, not to make us better human beings but to exploit the fundamental flaw in every human. We get old. We get forgetful. We make mistakes. And we are made to pay for our mistakes.

In the end, we’re not saving money. It’s another way for government to get money out of our pockets.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. Email him at

This post has already been read 75 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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