THIS OR THAT: Harmon says Illinois cannot get by without some kind of
Now, almost four years later, lawmakers say Illinois cannot possibly
survive if it loses any of the $31 billion raised through that
"The choices we have are to extend (the temporary tax increase) or to
cut 13,400 teachers from the classroom, to take 95,000 children out of
early childhood education, to say no to 30,000 college students wishing
to get a MAP grant, to close 11 prisons and release 15,000 prisoners,"
state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Brook, said Tuesday.
Harmon said the only other choice is a graduated income tax that would
start at 2.9 percent and end with a top rate of 6.9 percent.
Diana Rickert, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Policy Institute, said it
would amount to a tax increase on anyone making more than $12,000
"Right now, state law says Illinois' tax rate is to go to 3.75 percent
next year," Rickert said. "Supporters are going to pass off this (graduated) tax
as a tax on the rich. But it is really a tax on everyone."
Harmon's Democratic colleagues in the Senate have been preparing
doomsday budgets in anticipation of losing more than $1 billion next
But Republicans in the Statehouse accuse the Democrats of trying to
scare voters into accepting another tax increase.
"It doesn't have to happen," Senate GOP budget architect Matt Murphy
said last week. "You put all these people through this dog-and-pony show
to make it look like this has to happen to justify the tax increase that
takes a week's pay from everybody who works in this state."
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If Illinois were to stop spending — or at least stop
spending as much — Murphy and Republicans say, the state could
afford to roll back income taxes to the 3.75 percent rate promised
"This would make Thomas Hobson blush with regards to the false
choice being put before us," state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon,
said of the Democrats "more tax or massive cuts" budget scenarios.
Illinois lawmakers also are talking about extending the 2011 income
tax increases, in part or in whole. There also are plans for a
millionaires' tax, a 3 percent "surcharge" on incomes topping $1
million. Talk continues in regard to expanding Illinois' sales tax
or adding a new service tax.
But there's a wave of opposition, including small business owners
who say any new taxes would hurt Illinois' economy and drive out
Illinois, at 8.7 percent, has the second highest unemployment rate
in the nation and the highest jobless rate in the Midwest.
Despite the promises and billions of dollars in new tax money,
Illinois still has billions in unpaid bills.
Taxpayers may get a glimpse of how the state plans to tax them
Wednesday, as part of Gov. Pat Quinn's annual budget address.
article courtesy of
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