Governor Pat Quinn announced on Thursday that in order to offset his proposed 33% income tax hike on Illinois residents he would support future legislation to get schools to reduce property taxes in exchange for receiving the increased state funds. This is only good news if you are a supporter of Senator Bill Brady, Quinn’s opponent in the race for governor of the state.
Anyone who has ever paid property taxes in Illinois, can appreciate the need to reduce them. After moving from Ohio to Illinois a few years ago I was stunned to find that the property taxes due each month in Illinois were more than I paid for an entire year in property taxes for a comparable home in Ohio. However, there was some comfort in knowing that while property taxes were off the scale in Illinois, at least the state income tax was still relatively low. Well, not anymore if Pat Quinn has anything to say about it.
It is also doubtful that anyone would believe that school districts would actually reduce property taxes in exchange for a promised increase in state funds. The state already owes more than four billion dollars in unpaid promised funds to school districts throughout the state. In my own town there is a giant billboard posted by the local school district stating, in huge red letters with lots of zeros, that the state of Illinois now owes the district more than 3 million dollars!
While passing out huge raises to his own staff of more than 11% on average, Pat Quinn claims he has reduced state spending. While his numbers must surely be accurate, spending continues on programs the state clearly cannot afford including the failed Illinois All Kids Health Insurance program enacted by former state governor and convicted felon Rod Blagojevich. While on the surface, insuring every child in Illinois sounds like a great idea and one any civilized society would embrace, the reality of the program is that the primary beneficiaries of the All Kids insurance program are tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who are drawn to the state of Illinois due to the promise of social programs like this to assist them upon arrival.
There is no doubt that the state is great at spending and the budget Quinn signed in July shows the state facing a $12.8 billion budget shortfall for FY 2010 and 2011, according to a January 2010 study by the Civic Federation. As governor, Pat Quinn has to recognize the need to do something. As a democrat and a career politician raising taxes is his solution. In this case, he wants to raise the Illinois state income tax by a whopping 33%. As voters, Illinois citizens have to recognize there is a need to do something as well. As a taxpayer looking at this budget and Quinn’s tax and spend solutions, it seems clear we what the state needs is not more taxes, but instead a comprehensive change in state leadership.
“Quinn suggests tax switch could happen down the line,” Monique Garcia and Rick Pearson, Chicago Breaking News Center, Retrieved from: www.chicagobreakingnews.com
“Quinn gives staff big raises,” Ben Bradley, ABC7 News, Retrieved from: abclocal.go.com
“Governors Office of Management and Budget Announces Spending Allocations..” Retrieved from: www2.illinois.gov/budget
“Yet another Illinois botched program,” Dennis Byrne, Chicago Tribune, Retrieved from: articles.chicagotribune.com
“Civic Federation: Illinois budget deficit now totals at least $12.8 billion,” Institute for Illinios fiscal sustainability, Retrieved from: civicfed.org