"For too long, it's been the
middle class and working families of Illinois that have shouldered
more and more of the tax burden. And while they have paid more, the
wealthiest corporations in our state have paid less and less. It's a
system that for decades has been unfair to the small and
medium-sized companies across the state, businesses like Midwest
Fabrication, that don't have fancy accountants or powerful
lobbyists. We have the unique opportunity to make the most
fundamental change that will continue to put the middle class and
working families at the center of who we fight to help. It is a
change long overdue and desperately needed," said Gov. Blagojevich.
While the Blagojevich Administration has expanded access to
healthcare to more than 500,000 working families with Illinois'
FamilyCare and All Kids programs, access to quality
healthcare continues to be a concern for the 1.4 million adults
statewide that remain uninsured today, especially for many small
business owners who have been unable to provide healthcare for their
employees. The cost of healthcare for business has been growing five
times faster than the rate of inflation, and the number of firms
offering health benefits to their employees has fallen by at least 8
percent since 2000.
To address this crisis, Gov. Blagojevich has proposed Illinois
Covered -- a plan that will ensure all 1.4 million
uninsured have access to quality, affordable healthcare, and that
will help many middle-income families and small businesses that are
currently enrolled in health insurance plans save thousands a year
on healthcare costs. Among the components of the Governor's plan is
Illinois Covered Choice, which creates
an affordable and comprehensive insurance plan that anyone without
employer-sponsored health insurance in Illinois can purchase. This
statewide pool of coverage will offer Illinoisans lower and stable
rates. Business groups will be able to connect many of their members
with this new affordable insurance, and small business owners can
also purchase this product on behalf of their employees.
In addition, as the number of uninsured people statewide goes
down, so will insurance premiums for individuals and businesses.
Currently, premium costs are driven up when the cost of treating the
uninsured is shifted to the insured. Families USA estimated that
family premiums in Illinois rose by $1,059 in 2005 just to make up
for the cost of providing healthcare to the uninsured.
"At the heart of our plan is one simple goal: everyone should
have access to affordable, quality healthcare," Gov. Blagojevich
continued. "So here is the choice we now face: ignore the
needs of the working families struggling to pay for healthcare,
burden our small businesses, costing us jobs, and deny healthcare to
hardworking families -- or improve healthcare by having the biggest
corporations pay their fair share. We have made historic progress on
healthcare. Let's now finish the job."
[to top of second column]
Midwest Fabrication & Repair began in Jim Ozee's garage in 1991
with $35,000 and one employee and has since grown into a nearly $4
million company with 91 employees. The company started out doing
automotive and mining fabrication and later added agricultural parts
manufacturing. Last August, the Governor announced a $630,000 grant
to the City of Harrisburg to support Midwest Fabrication & Repair in
expanding its operations, which includes the purchase of a new
building and the installation of new robotics equipment. It also
allowed for the creation of 50 new jobs. The Illinois Department of
Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is administering the grant.
"I certainly agree that everybody has to pay their fair share,
which is what this plan is all about. By investing more money in
healthcare and education, we are going to help level the playing
field for companies like ours, make our employees more productive
and help our families build better lives," Midwest Fabrication
President Jim Ozee said.
Many large corporations pay little or nothing in corporate income
taxes, and they are not paying their fair share to meet the state's
ongoing infrastructure, education, healthcare and public safety
needs. Gov. Blagojevich's plan takes historic steps to change the
Illinois tax structure -- one of the most regressive and unfair to
working families in the nation. According to the Illinois Department
of Revenue, 37 of the 99 'Fortune 100' companies that filed taxes in
Illinois paid no state income taxes, despite the fact that they
averaged $1.2 billion in sales during 2004. On average, 48 percent
of corporations that generated $50 million or more in annual sales
in Illinois paid no income taxes from 1997 through 2004.
The Governor's Tax Fairness Plan implements a Gross
Receipts Tax (GRT) that has been embraced by many economists because
of its broad base and low rates. States including Washington,
Delaware and Hawaii have had a GRT for years, and, recently, Ohio
and Texas have adopted a form of the tax. The GRT will only apply to
businesses that make more than $1 million each year, which means 75
percent of all businesses in Illinois will be exempt. The GRT will
tax service industries at a low 1.8 percent rate, while
manufacturers, construction, retail and wholesale companies will be
taxed at an even lower .5 percent. Exports will not be taxed. The
plan also mitigates costs being passed on to consumers by excluding
certain goods, such as retail food and pharmaceuticals.
The Governor announced his bold Tax Fairness plan earlier last
week when he delivered his 2007 budget address.
[Text copied from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]