Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

May 7, 2014

One more costly tax hike remains

We’re very thankful that two ill-conceived, job-killing tax hike schemes died in the General Assembly in recent weeks.

That’s two down, and one — making the 67 percent temporary income tax increase permanent — to go.

House Speaker Michael Madigan pulled his proposed constitutional amendment for a “millionaire tax” because he did not have the three-fifths majority needed to put it on the Nov. 4 ballot. And an effort to amend the Illinois Constitution to switch from a flat tax to a progressive tax based on income stalled in the Senate because Madigan could not deliver the 71 votes needed in the House.

Illinois caught a break for once. Taxpayers and businesses already are struggling in a state that’s toxic to both. The state’s anemic economy and recent polls expressing the depth of Illinois residents’ disgust and desire to leave speak volumes.

Allowing our spendthrift state lawmakers to jack up taxes to whatever rates they see fit would further drive businesses and taxpayers out of the state. It would make attracting talented people to take jobs in Illinois more difficult. It would be yet another poison pill for a state with the third-highest unemployment and the worst credit rating in the nation, and the worst projected 2014 job growth rate. And of course, the second-highest rate of people moving elsewhere.

Lawmakers who supported a progressive tax claimed that the vast majority of state residents would see a lower tax rate.

State lawmakers have until the end of session May 31 if they want to make the increase permanent by simple majority. After that, the number of votes needed leaps to three-fifths until Jan. 1. Or lawmakers can pull the same trick they did three years ago — wait until after the election and increase it by simple majority in the January lame-duck session. That’s how six outgoing state lawmakers — including two who campaigned against a tax hike and then voted “yes” — ended up with cushy government jobs.

It’s become apparent that it’s too much to ask for state government to live within its means. But is it too much to ask for state lawmakers to keep a promise made to taxpayers? Just this once?

Even if it was a hollow promise that Quinn and Co. never had any intention of honoring?

The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald

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