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Russell Hampton
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Speakers
Sep 22, 2020
Ak’Tenamit- The Guatemala Tomorrow Project
Oct 20, 2020
Health supplements and best practices to use with Covid
Nov 17, 2020
District Govenor
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Upcoming Events
Club Service Committee - Zoom
Zoom
Oct 14, 2020
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM
 
Club Service Committee - Zoom
Zoom
Nov 11, 2020
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM
 
Board Meeting - Governor Staab's Visit
Virtual
Nov 16, 2020
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
 
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Meeting Notes from September 15, 2020
The Light for September 15, 2020
 
By Kate Collinson
 
President Chris Joyce welcomed members to the meeting before leading the group in the Why We Are Rotarians statement.   Ann Searles shared a Thought for the Day from Russian dramatist Nikolai Gogol:  “Everywhere across whatever sorrows of which our life is woven, some radiant joy will gaily flash past.”
                   
Chris also wished a happy Rosh Hashanah holiday to those celebrating later this week.
 
Announcements
 
Bruce Baumberger reported that the District Nominating Committee selected Past District Governor Julie Clark as Vice Governor for Kevin Stevens.  The Committee also selected Mary Bak (Glenview Sunrise Club) as District Governor Nominee-Designate.  Mary is well known to our club as a frequent guest and Assistant Governor.  She has served in many committee and leadership positions in her 30+ years with Rotary.  We look forward to working with Mary as DG in 2023-2024!
 
Bill Glader announced that our Virtual Taste of Evanston event for 2020 netted $25,665, exceeding our $25,000 goal.  Fundraising during COVID was an uphill battle, but Rotarians (and friends) met the challenge.  Thanks to all who donated – and particular thanks to Dale Bradley for his game-changing match during the final week!
 
Club Service Chair Katherine Peterson reported on her committee’s meeting last week.  Going forward, ELRC members are encouraged to organize and attend Flash Fellowship opportunities.  (Helen Oloroso arranged just such an event recently at Northwestern’s Shakespeare Garden.)  These gatherings will be publicized via email and interested members are encouraged to RSVP promptly and attend!   
 
Sunshine Lady Ann Searles wished Ira Graham Happy (95th, Ira’s best guess) Birthday! She also spoke with Sam & Joan Lovering who are facing some potential surgeries in addition to trying to sell their home.  They will be moving to a better location for seniors.  Myra Janus continues to suffer from a non-COVID affliction.  Ann was not able to reach Horton Kellogg.   Please let Ann know if there are other club members needing attention.
 
Jean Saunders, in follow-up to her email, announced an example of Flash Fellowship –"Drive-In at the Barn.”   A collaboration between the Autobarn, Downtown Evanston, Byline Bank, The Davis Theatre and Evanston Loves Rotary, this drive-in movie night will benefit Evanston’s two Rotary clubs!  The movie – Steven Spielberg’s The Goonies – will be shown outside at 2201 Autobarn Place (near Target, just off Howard Street).   Participants should arrive between 6:45 – 7:45 p.m., with the movie starting at 8 p.m.  Boxed dinners may be pre-ordered in advance from Taco Diablo/Lulus/Five & Dime for $15.  A link in Jean’s email will send you to the Eventbrite Registration page which contains a map and all the details.  The cost is $25/car.  You may view the movie from inside your car or adjacent chairs.  A ‘trial’ event in Evanston, this drive-in set-up has been used successfully in some Chicago parks.  Thanks to the Autobarn for donating its parking lot space and restrooms, and to Patrick Hughes for the necessary A/V equipment.  Please consider supporting our club by attending this fun, socially-distanced event!
 
Gary Peterson, Rotary Foundation Chair, encouraged members to consider a donation to The Rotary Foundation’s Annual Fund.  Donations to the Annual Fund return to our club in three years for support of local or global projects.  While it’s still early in the club year, it’s never too soon to think of making your contribution through myrotary.org (member access website).  We’re hoping for “Every Rotarian Every Year”!
 
Chris Joyce announced that Young Leaders Committee Chair Kassandre McGovern, very busy with work obligations, will be sharing some of her duties for the next few months with Mike MerdingerMike announced that the Young Leaders Committee will meet via Zoom on Monday, Sept. 21, at 9 a.m. to discuss potential activities for the coming year.  All are welcome.  Please contact Mike if you’d like to receive the Zoom link.    
 
Roasts & Boasts
 
Steve Goranson boasted Chris Joyce and the ELRC Board for their expedited support of the revised Environmental Justice Resolution which went before Evanston’s City Council last night.  (During the meeting, we learned that the Resolution was adopted.)  Environmental Justice (EJ) assures the same access to environmental assets and the same protection from environmental risks to all, accompanied by a role in decision-making. Historically, Evanston’s poorest neighborhoods have disproportionately experienced environmental injustice. Going forward, our Club hopes to view opportunities of all types using this broader EJ lens. 
 
After taking Dale’s advice and avoiding a foolish mistake, Steve Steiber boasted Dale Bradley’s business acumen, ethics and sound citizenship.
 
Linda Gerber boasted Kathy Tate-Bradish, who received the Abner J. Mikva Award from the Democratic Party of Evanston at its annual fundraiser on Sunday.  Kathy was honored as a “dedicated volunteer recognized for her civic and community involvement in the greater Evanston area and globally for more than 35 years.”  Other award recipients were J.B. Pritzker and Robin Rue Simmons, but Kathy’s speech was the best of the bunch!
 
Program
 
Topic: Progressive Income Tax
 
Speaker: Ted Dabrowski, President of Wirepoints
 
Marv Edelstein introduced Ted Dabrowski of Wirepoints, an independent, non-profit delivering original research and commentary about Illinois’ economy and government with a particular focus on state and local fiscal crises.  In the words of their website, “we try to stick to policy, facts and numbers, not politics.”
 
Born in Evanston Hospital to a Polish father and Ecuadorean mother, Ted remembers when Illinois was a destination state for those wanting to live the American dream.  Currently a Wilmette resident, he notes that Illinois has moved to the opposite end of the spectrum.  Our legislators force us to argue about tax scenarios rather than the type of reforms that will actually address our state’s problems.  Ted’s plan is to present the facts.  Each person can then decide how they will vote on the upcoming progressive tax referendum.
 
Illinois clearly needs reform, he said. Between 2010 and 2019, Illinois has shrunk more than any other state, down 170,000 residents (U.S. Census).  At the same time, Illinois has the greatest pension debt - $241 billion (Moody’s).  Illinois residents also face some of our country’s highest property taxes – 2.2% as a % of median home value.  Considered the “least tax-friendly state” (Kiplinger), Illinois has a decades-long history of high taxes and declining (inflation-adjusted) home values. In addition, Illinois is arguably the most corrupt state in the country with more than 890 convictions for public corruption. 
 
When Illinoisans vote in November, they will not be voting on rates.  They will be voting on an amendment to the Illinois Constitution which will allow them to move from a flat income tax to a progressive tax structure. The proposed introductory rates are publicly known.  For those making less than $250,000, the rates will be kept low (<5%).  These income tax rates can be changed by the legislature.    
 
Using the intro rates, Illinois can expect tax proceeds of $3.6 billion, a number that is not large enough to fix the state’s problems or address the structural deficit.  To raise the sum that is really needed – approximately $10 billion – rates would need to increase for middle income earners. This could mean rates of 8.5-9.5% for those earning between $50,000 - $250,000.  If property taxes are reduced (as some suggest), then $15 billion from income taxes would be necessary.  Given the finite number of taxpayers, this would mean raising rates even more, possibly taxing those earning $1 million at a 14% rate.  Rates keep rising, funds are being spent, but the underlying issues are not being resolved.
 
Per Ted, if you think the Illinois government can function on $3.6 billion (the amount raised using the intro progressive rates), you should support the change.  If you don’t think $3.6 billion is adequate, you should be concerned about potentially higher rates in the future.  While 32 states in the U.S. have progressive tax structures, most of Illinois’ neighbors are flat tax states.  
 
Taxes are a very complicated issue, with money needing to come from somewhere.  Many other Illinois taxes have been raised recently, but are fundamentally regressive (gas, cigarette, gambling, vehicle registration taxes, real estate transfer taxes, etc.), penalizing low income earners.   A progressive tax would allow for graduated rates on retirement income.   The bipartisan, non-profit Center for Tax & Budget Accountability in 2012 proposed higher rates -- 7.5-8.5% rates for those earning  less than $200,000.  

We are all familiar with Illinois’ serious pension problem.  For more info, Wirepoint does a deep dive into pension reform and potential solutions  https://wirepoints.org/pensionsolutions/
 
Illinois’ challenges are many.   Population loss is a serious problem, affecting Congressional representation, federal government distributions, tax receipts, economic development.  Illinois has more units of local government (nearly 7,000) than any other state in the U.S., duplicating services, salaries and bureaucracy.  Illinois’ financing issue is another hurdle.  Illinois bonds have been rated one notch above junk by all three rating agencies.  (Chicago bonds are junk-rated; Chicago Public Schools bonds are rated below Detroit.)  When borrowing, Illinois pays much more than its neighbors due to its insolvency.
 
Illinois is the only state to have borrowed from the federal government during COVID.  How does one fight rampant corruption?
 
Sadly, neither political party is considering reasonable reforms.  There is no political will in Illinois to do the right thing.   What will force a change?  The state and its cities are in deep danger.  Citizens armed with facts must be advocates for real change, our speaker contended.
 
Guests and Milestones
 
Guest
 
Ted Dabrowski, President, Wirepoint
 
Birthdays
 
Gerry Baumann – Sept. 15
Louis Alred – Sept. 19
Linc Janus – Sept. 19
 
Club Anniversary
 
Al Menard – Sept. 15, 6 years
 
 
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