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Clarifying property tax law

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald  |  Rich Hein~Sun-Times

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 3, 2012 9:02AM

Your May 11 editorial suggested I helped engineer a “gift” for state Rep. Monique Davis in a dispute over back rent and property taxes involving the Chicago Public Schools.

No “gift” for Rep. Davis. It’s the state, not she, who’s responsible for paying the bill.

The general rule is that governments don’t pay taxes. They collect taxes from people and businesses to provide services. If they were to pay taxes themselves, wouldn’t that mean the taxpayer is paying twice? Leases between governmental bodies should not be subject to taxes, either. The wording of the law may be ambiguous, which perhaps explains why one state agency misinterpreted the statute. The point of the bill you criticize was to make absolutely clear that when a governmental entity rents from another, property taxes are not included.

Many legislators rent district office space in other government buildings, in village and town halls, for example. Many state agencies lease space with units of local government, including airport boards and community colleges. It is my understanding that in none of these arrangements is either the lessee or the lessor liable for property taxes.

In House Bill 5761, the legislature merely clarified what we already believed is the law.

State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie,

majority leader

Fitzgerald will be missed

Patrick Fitzgerald has been one of a kind, a truly honest, impartial and honorable U.S. attorney. He fought corruption regardless of party or influence. Mark Brown’s column nails it — Patrick Fitzgerald will be missed. I just hope Fitzgerald uses his shining armor and white horse somewhere else where it can benefit the people of Illinois.

Jim Mulhearn, Archer Heights

Ask Peter Fitzgerald

It was former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald who picked Patrick Fitzgerald to be U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Since Peter Fitzgerald chose so well, why not ask him for his assistance again? If Peter comes up with one who is from Illinois, rather than from elsewhere, I’ll be satisfied with his selection since he came through so well the first time.

Mae Chin, Lincoln Park

Schools aren’t failing; policies are failing the students

I marched on Wednesday, along with more than 5,500 Chicago Public School teachers and staff, because I am tired of being disrespected by people who are not educators. We the educators, the people who work with students, work with parents and are invested in our school’s communities, know what will work for our students.

We marched to show that our schools are not failing; it’s the policies that are failing the students. I marched because we care so much about the students that we realize if we don’t march and come together now, the privatized educational system that is being proposed by the current administration will cause irreparable harm to our students, schools, communities and our careers. We do not want to march. We want to teach. We do not want to strike. We want to teach. We do not want to be forced to implement the newest, latest, ineffective and untested educational policy. We want to teach.

In the course of caring about our students, we have to care about ourselves. We have to care about the policies that we are asked to implement. We have to care about our compensation as educators. We have to care about full, rich curriculums. We have to care about schools with counselors, librarians, psychologists and social workers. We want to teach in a school system that values and respects every child, no matter where they live. We want to teach, but until we are allowed to teach and feel that our students best interests are at heart we will march.

David Stieber, Hyde Park

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