Topinka: Find a “real” revenue source for tax cut plan
Thursday, Dec 1, 2011
* State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka warned legislators that they needed to come up with a “real” funding source for the tax cut package, and suggested gaming expansion as a possibility. “Heck, people are going to gamble anyway, we might as well be able to collect,” Topinka said.
The General Assembly wants to use $250 million in increased revenues next fiscal year from the expiration of a federal tax program, but Topinka says that money was already expected and legislators need to find new revenues. The comptroller said she even supported gaming at the State Fair, which sits empty most of the year. Gov. Pat Quinn flatly rejected that idea and has threatened to veto the rest of the gaming bill because it’s too “top heavy.”
Topinka says there’s currently $4.3 billion in overdue bills sitting in her office, plus another $1.9 billion in vouchers that agencies haven’t even submitted to her yet, $1.2 billion in unpaid employee health insurance, $500 million in overdue corporate tax refunds and $400 million in interfund repayments. “So that’s $8.3 billion we’re on the hook for right now while the legislature is considering, again, coming up with a Christmas tree worth of goodies here for a minimum of $250 million annually. If you’re going to do this then you’d better have a funding source. You’d better figure it out, you’d better have a funding source, because right now you don’t.
* Also in the interview, Topinka said people should “quit demonizing the state employees” over their pensions. She said she wanted to see some pension reforms because the current system is “unsustainable,” but wants to “see if there’s anything we can do without hurting the folks who have been paying right along.”