Democrats kept their grip on power in the Illinois Legislature and won the governorship by the slimmest of margins, and they are going to make voters pay for it. Emboldened by his reelection, Governor Quinn and legislative allies are seizing on the lame duck session to sneak through a radical tax and spending plan the voters did not expect and would not have accepted.
Campaigning in 2010, Gov. Pat Quinn declared his intention to raise income taxes from 3% to 4%. So after winning the election by a razor-thin margin over Bill Brady, Quinn had some claim to a mandate, since the people who voted for him knew that was his plan.
But the current Quinn plan is to raise all kinds of taxes and by far more. Joe Calomino, Illinois State Director at Americans for Prosperity, lists the details of the plan -- or as nearly as can be determined. The details were not worked out in the light of day, but plotted behind closed doors by the Chicago machine power brokers Quinn, Speaker Mike Madigan, and Senate President John Cullerton:
- Income tax increase from 3 percent to 5.25 percent (a 75% increase)
- Local governments would not get their usual cut from the increase
- Corporate income tax hike from 4.8 percent to 8.4 percent (75%)
- Cigarette tax to go up by $1 per pack
- Borrow an additional $8.5 billion
- Property tax deduction would go to a flat $325 (which may actually be a tax credit)
I've omitted all discussion of sunset provisions and how much revenue the tax increases are supposed to raise, because neither seem ever to turn out quite the way they are touted.
So the job killing tax increases and job killing Internet tax grab are not the only rotten fish in this barrel. Governor Quinn plans to borrow to "balance" the state's budget, a plan that renders nonsensical the state constitutional mandate for a balanced one in the first place.
And that borrowing will eventually have to be repaid, and with interest. As the non-partisan Illinois Policy Institute says,
“Governor Quinn’s borrowing will hit the working class, poor, and disadvantaged of Illinois the hardest,” said John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute. “Borrowing costs, combined with annual increases in the expected pension contribution, will crowd out basic government functions in the near future. Our past borrowing is already catching up to us. Illinois would have had an extra $1.6 billion in available revenues this year if not for the debt service costs of previous years’ borrowing.”
“It’s worth remembering that Governor Quinn only found one program—out of thousands—to veto outright when he signed this year’s spending bill in July. Had he taken a closer look at structural spending reforms and not agreed to politically motivated “no layoff and closure” deals with public employee unions, we could be on the path back to recovery instead of being stuck in ever-mounting debt,” noted Tillman.
As tea party activist John Bambenek put it,
You might think, "surely they will cut spending". You'd be wrong. They plan to actually INCREASE spending with this plan and borrow another $14 billion on top of it. This is tax, borrow and spend at it's absolute worst. The only ones who will make it under this plan are residents of Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri because companies have said they will leave this state with this kind of tax increase and take the jobs with them.
Had Illinois Republicans come up with another 20,000 votes to defeat the Blagojevich/Quinn dynasty in the governor's race, Quinn may still have attempted this deceit in the lame duck session. In fact, he may have tried more. But a defeated Quinn would have lacked the influence that a reelected one has, since Illinois politicians know that despite being appointed by a convicted felon, being a complete waste of salary as a governor, and the tea party year that was 2010, Quinn still sneaked back in.
There is now very little they won't try.
Visit http://www.ilga.gov, find your representatives, and express your interest in this matter.