NOT ONE CENT LESS: Quinn says he needs to keep the temporary tax to
"I was elected in 2010 to be straight with the people of Illinois, and
to be straight with you," Quinn told lawmakers Wednesday at his budget
address. "Today, I propose we take the path that is honest and
That path is built on Quinn's plan to make Illinois' 2011 "temporary"
income tax increases permanent.
Those tax hikes — one for residents and another for companies — will
have raised $31 billion by the end of this year, and Quinn insists he
needs that money.
"If action is not taken to stabilize our revenue code, extreme and
radical cuts will be imposed on education and critical public services,"
Of course, "stabilize our revenue code" are the code words for extend
the tax increases.
Illinois lawmakers have proposed a budget that tops $34 billion but
doesn't rely on the 2011 tax money. If Quinn gets his wish and a
permanent tax hike, state spending could increase to almost $36 billion
for the next year.
That would mean Illinois is spending $12 billion a year more than in
State budgets have risen steadily from just more than $24 billion in
2001 to nearly $36 billion last year. Yet Quinn said he wants to spend
"My blueprint invests $1.5 billion in birth to 5 (education)," Quinn
said. "We also need to better fund our elementary and high schools ...
Over the next five years we will increase our investments in the classroom by
over $6 billion."
Quinn also wants to spend more on college scholarships, require a
$10-an-hour minimum wage and require paid sick time for even part-time
workers. He's not offering a price tag for that.
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Republicans say now is not the time to look to spend
"Three years ago we (saw) a 67 percent income tax increase. The
promise was to get the state in order, pay our bills and the rest,"
state Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville said. "None of those
promises were kept."
"The governor continues to persist
in the belief and the claim that 'But for high taxes, more spending,
a higher backlog of bills there won't be any prosperity in
Illinois'," state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, said, emphasizing
that he and the other GOP lawmakers will fight that claim.
That Quinn is asking to spend more isn't a surprise. The governor
has long supported the expansion of government programs, but as he
heads toward a re-election fight in November, the promise of more
money for schools and poor children is seen as election year
Christina Rasmussen, executive vice president of the Illinois Policy
Institute, said just because Quinn is making those election year
promises doesn't mean he'll keep them.
"When Gov. Quinn ran for office in 2010, he promised Illinois
taxpayers he would not sign into law a tax increase above 1
percentage point, or 33 percent," Rasmussen said. "A few months
after the election, he signed Illinois' largest tax increase in state
Illinois lawmakers now will take Quinn's ideas under advisement. The
Legislature has until the end of May to craft a spending plan.
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