Local mayors skeptical about GOP tax plan

  • Written by Joe Boyle

President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers said they delivered an early Christmas present to Americans and local businesses when their tax reduction plan was approved on Dec. 20.

However, some local mayors have stated that the tax plan will have little effect on their communities -- at least in the short term.

“I think with a lot of people we will have to wait and see,” said Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett, who is also the president of the Southwest Conference of Mayors. “It is a little top heavy with tax cuts for corporations, but we will see if it will trickle down to Palos Hills or other areas. I haven’t really talked to people about this. I just don’t know about that.”

Trump has stated that the bill will provide more jobs for Americans. However, critics aren’t so sure. According to an NBC-Wall Street Journal survey, 63 percent believed the plan was designed to benefit corporations and the wealthy. Just seven percent believes the bill will help middle-class America, according to the survey.

Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar said that time will only tell.

“I hope the citizens recognize that we were able to hold the line on taxes and our tax levy,” Tokar said. “You don’t know what to believe. Are the Democrats telling the truth? Are the Republicans telling the truth? I guess we will see when we look at our paychecks later.”

Some large corporations have benefited from the tax plan. AT&T and American Airlines have offered $1,000 bonuses to their employees. Other corporations have stated that they will also offer similar bonuses to employees, including Boeing, Fifth Third Bank and Wells Fargo, according to published reports.

However, many Democrats said that a list of 32 corporations, including Home Depot, T-Mobile and Mastercard, have announced billions in stock buybacks. This means, according to Democrats, that higher dividends and executive bonuses are the likely response instead of wage increases for employees at companies that are receiving the tax reductions. No Democrats voted for the bill.

Worth Mayor Mary Werner also has her doubts but remains optimistic.

“There are literally people who say this is horrible, it will bankrupt us,” Werner said. “And there are other people who think this is great. Huge corporations are happy, from what I hear. “I’m hopeful that it encourages big business to come to our village. But I don’t know about that.”

Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury does not see the new legislation providing vast changes for her village. However, she is concerned about young couples who want to buy homes.

“It’s going to significantly affect home prices,” Bury predicts about the new law. “Oak Lawn has been solid and steady with its home value. It’s not going to impact Oak Lawn, I think, but I don’t know. We will just have to see. It’s going to impact the younger generations who want to buy a home. And I feel for them regarding health care.”

Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton said he has no idea if the new legislation will result in any changes for his village.

“I hope it has a trickle-down effect for people and they come and spend money in our village,” Sexton said. ‘But I don’t know. I guess we will have to see.”

Sexton then paused and had another thought.

“It would be nice for people to be more charitable and help out others.”