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Poll: 63 percent oppose making tax hike permanent

Thursday, Feb 21, 2013

* The latest released results from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll. Pay attention to those income tax results…

The introduction to the various options for pension reform was read to each respondent: “As you may have heard, the state of Illinois has an unfunded pension liability of about 96 billion dollars. Some say this liability will grow rapidly as more people reach retirement age, and will hurt the state’s ability to fund other services, such as education, public safety, and roads. Others say that pensions are a binding contract between the state and its employees, and can’t be altered or reduced. I’m going to read some proposals that state officials have made to fix the pension liability. For each, please tell me whether you favor or oppose that proposal.”

1. Would you favor or oppose a proposal to suspend retirees’ annual cost of living increase for six years?

    Strongly favor 21.8%
    Favor 14.7%
    Oppose 20.7%
    Strongly oppose 36.3%
    Other/Don’t know 6.5%

2. Would you favor or oppose a proposal to apply cost-of-living increases only to the first $25,000 of retirees’ pensions?

    Strongly favor 21.5%
    Favor 23.7%
    Oppose 16.3%
    Strongly oppose 28.0%
    Other/Don’t know 10.5%

3. Would you favor or oppose a proposal to defer retirees’ cost-of-living increases until they reach age 67?

    Strongly favor 30.7%
    Favor 27.7%
    Oppose 12.8%
    Strongly oppose 24.7%
    Other/Don’t know 4.2%

4. Would you favor or oppose a proposal to increase the age at which retirees can receive full pension benefits from 65 to 67 years of age?

    Strongly favor 35.7%
    Favor 21.2%
    Oppose 11.7%
    Strongly oppose 29.7%
    Other/Don’t know 1.8%

5. Would you favor or oppose a proposal to increase the age at which retirees receive state-paid health care benefits from 65 to 67 years of age?

    Strongly favor 29.7%
    Favor 19.3%
    Oppose 14.8%
    Strongly oppose 33.8%
    Other/Don’t know 2.3%

6. Would you favor or oppose a proposal to increase the share that Illinois school districts pay for their employees and to reduce the amount that the state pays?

    Strongly favor 21.7%
    Favor 23.5%
    Oppose 19.3%
    Strongly oppose 23.3%
    Other/Don’t know 12.2%

7. The state of Illinois has a budget deficit of about 4 billion dollars. I’m going to read three statements that people have made about how to fix the deficit, and ask you which one comes closest to your views? If you haven’t thought much about the issue, just tell me that.

First is . . .

    Illinois’ public programs and services have already been reduced significantly. We can only fix the problem by taking in more revenue, such as a tax increase.

Next is . . .

    The state takes in plenty of money to pay for public services but wastes it on unnecessary programs. We can fix the problem by cutting waste and inefficiency in government.

Third is . . .

    Illinois’ budget problem is so large it can only be solved by a combination of budget cuts and revenue increases.

Results:

    More Revenue 7.5%
    Cutting Waste and Inefficiency 54.7%
    Combination of Budget Cuts and Revenue Increases 28.8%
    Haven’t thought much about it 4.5%
    Other/Don’t know 4.5%

8. Do you favor or oppose a proposal to make permanent the recently passed temporary state income tax increase?

    Strongly favor 11.8%
    Favor 16.8%
    Oppose 19.0%
    Strongly oppose 44.3%
    Other/Don’t know 8.0%

9. Do you favor or oppose expanding the sales tax to cover services like dry cleaning or haircuts, which are not currently taxed?

    Strongly favor 16.3%
    Favor 21.0%
    Oppose 16.0%
    Strongly oppose 43.5%
    Other/Don’t know 3.2%

* From the Institute…

“The results show the people of Illinois are aware of the problems in their state funded pension systems and of some actions which could be taken by state government,” said John S. Jackson, a visiting professor at the Institute.

“There’s a general feeling that state employees are going to have to take some losses in their pension plans, but a majority of people in Illinois is not supportive of draconian measures. There is majority support only for incremental changes to the pension system,” Jackson said.

The poll also shows strong opposition to raising taxes, making the 5 percent income tax permanent or expanding the list of items subject to the state sales tax. Instead, voters support cuts to state spending to balance the budget.

* And…

There were 45.1 percent favoring [the cost-shift] proposal and 42.6 percent opposed. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most support for this proposal was in Chicago where almost half of the respondents (49.1 percent) supported it with the next highest in the suburbs, where 48.6 percent supported. Downstate areas outside the city and suburbs were the regions with the most opposition. Only 36.6 percent favored it while 48.8 percent opposed or strongly opposed.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


63 Comments
  1. - cover - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 9:54 am:

    I believe poll question #7 is misleading, because of the inclusion of the “waste and inefficiency” language. Where in the state budget would there be ~$7 billion worth of “waste and inefficiency”?


  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 9:57 am:

    48.6% in the suburbs support a cost-shift? Very surprising.


  3. - Very Old Soil - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:05 am:

    I would have liked to see a follow up question re: major areas of waste and inefficiency.


  4. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:08 am:

    Interesting that the answers are different in almost the same amount to #1 (57.0% against) and #3 (58.4% for) to what are basically the same question, just phrased differently. If someone took an early retirement at age 60 and couldn’t collect the COLA until 67 (one possible scenario under #3), that is the same effect as a 7 year suspension of the COLA.

    Definitely shows how the question is phrased makes a difference in how it is answered.


  5. - walkinfool - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:15 am:

    Voters are always in favor of lower taxes, and cutting “waste and inefficiency” in government to balance the budget. That’s always the first simplistic answer. The fact that the numbers simply don’t add up this way in Illinois, is generally ignored.

    Voters also always favor of spending cuts, provided they aren’t from things that help them and their close neighbors — and they often don’t think of the government activities that actually do help them, when answering such questions.

    It’s hard to learn anything from polls like this, unless they specifically ask what exactly voters themselves would give up, in order to pay off the massive debts and maintain lower taxes.


  6. - the Patriot - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:16 am:

    The tax hike was to help us pay our bills but Madigan and Quinn increased spending instead. Downstaters are tired of seeing offices closed and positions added in Chicago. I know both ends of the state think they prop up the other. Does anyone have a site to compare revenue vs. spending distribution through the state?


  7. - Endangered Moderate Species - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:17 am:

    Off subject from the poll, but yesterday we recognized an inefficiency in the FOID card processing system. Regardless of personal views, the conclusion was the process was out-dated, inefficient and the fee was not paying for the cost.

    Many of us have been around both the government and private sectors and it is fair to say, the government sector does not react as quickly to new technologies and efficiencies as does the private sector.

    My point is, there are probably other inefficiencies occurring that have not been recognized. I am sane enough to realize we cannot totally cut our way out of our fiscal challenges, but that doesn’t mean we cannot stop looking at how to do things better and more efficiently.


  8. - Endangered Moderate Species - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:18 am:

    The Patriot- Be careful what you ask for. You may not like the results.


  9. - DisgustedOne - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    Even if raising the retirement age to 67 were to be found constitutional, I do believe there are differences in what a 60+ year old is capable of compared to a 20 year old. If that doesn’t wash, then I think the oldest of prison guards should be assigned to maximum security, high risk areas, and only 60+ year old teachers should be assigned to primary grades so that they can crawl on the floor in circle time and sit cross legged on the floor. Any parent who dares complain about old teachers should have their child immediately expelled. If it’s good enough for the taxpayers, it’s good enough for the little ones too. Desk jobs……….not sure why age is a factor. Taxes? Who wants to pay more of those? Isn’t there more free money in the pension funds they can use for other stuff?


  10. - dupage dan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:22 am:

    WFA - the mantra simply isn’t useful. How do you cut waste, fraud and abuse? By creating a watchdog to ferret out the WFA. Which costs money. This stuff doesn’t self-expose.

    I’m not against seeking and eliminating WFA. I just haven’t seen any empirical evidence that you can significantly reduce gov’t spending by lessening it.

    walkinfool is right to point out that folks are fine with programs being cut so long as THEIRS is left alone.

    Nothing new here. Move along.


  11. - capncrunch - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:26 am:

    -The poll also shows strong opposition to raising taxes-

    Should we be surprised that most people object to giving more of their money to the state? Unless a tax increase did not affect them or they could personally benefit from a tax increase, they are not likely to be in favor of it.


  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:28 am:

    ===The tax hike was to help us pay our bills but Madigan and Quinn increased spending instead.===

    Wrong on two counts.

    1) A portion of the tax hike was set aside to make payments on a bond that would be used to pay off old bills.

    2) Operating spending has actually gone down. The budget has risen because of the pension payments.

    Either figure this simple stuff out or find somewhere else to comment. Final warning to you.


  13. - lincolnlover - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:29 am:

    What waste and efficiency? The only waste and efficiency is in the general assembly members direct control, not in actual agency day to day employees.
    Patriot - What increased spending are you talking about? You may have information I don’t have (most on this site do), but as a state employee and a tax payer, I sure haven’t seen any big push to spend a lot of money anywhere.


  14. - so... - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    The responses to the cost shift question in particular (but others as well) don’t strike me as very illuminating.

    These are (somewhat) complicated policy issues that most people aren’t up to speed on. If the question had specifically stated that the cost shift means that THEY, the taxpayers, would be paying more through their property taxes, you’d probably see very different results.


  15. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    A poll was published today showing that nationally, a vast majority of Americans favor both tax increases and spending cuts.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/02/21/poll-pew-obama-gop-guns-energy-immigration-sequester/1934233/

    Other Illinois polls have had different results than this one, but the answers depend on the questions. I think it’s safe to say that when polls are aggregated, most Illinois voters support some combination of cuts and revenue.

    These polls show that many of us are reasonable people. In this environment, one would think we can get solutions that are more balanced rather than fruitless political stagnation and warfare.


  16. - Nickypiii - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    How the questions asked kind of skews the results of this poll. This poll just states that most people polled don’t understand the constitutional problems with most of the proposed pension “reform” plans. Of course no one wants to pay more taxes. However, Illinois still has a diminished benefits clause that makes most questions on this poll moot.


  17. - foster brooks - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:41 am:

    REThere’s a general feeling that state employees are going to have to take some losses in their pension plans, but a majority of people in Illinois is not supportive of draconian measures. There is majority support only for incremental changes to the pension system,” Jackson said.
    So is raising the retirement age from 50 to 67 draconian?


  18. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:43 am:

    From about 35 years as a state employee, I have no doubt there is a percentage of WFA there. It is institutionalized in many ways; some examples are spend or lose at end of budget year, baseline budgeting of simple increase over previous year, etc.

    But let’s be realistic about it. The actual State controlled budget money, exclusive of federal pass-thru, is in the $30B - $35B range. To be generous, say $35B. Take away about $5B in mandatory pension payments, and you’re back to $30B. I should subtratc some for the various other mandatory dedicated spending on but I won’t. 10% of $30B is $3B, which still leaves you $4B or so short even if you manage to eliminate every bit of waste.

    It’s simple math, really deep cuts, total elimination of some non-federal programs, or more revenue.


  19. - suburban taxpayer - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    I am all for cutting waste and improving efficiency. However, as pointed out above, there is not anything close to $6B or $7B of waste in the budget to cut. If there are to be no tax increases (for example sales or income taxes) then the math is simple, programs need to be cut and cut a lot.

    Out of of the current budget the cuts (in fact redirection of funds to the pension plans), as I calculate it, need to average about 1/5 of all current spending. That assumes that the current income tax rates stay in effect and are not allowed to lapse and that all of the current spending cuts go to the penson plans. The math works fine but will this type of option work in political sense?


  20. - archimedes - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:57 am:

    A poll like this indicates popularity - but the popular solution is no solution if it doesn’t work. The pension debt is really just as much a legal obligation as the bills not paid to vendors and bond payments to investors. Not sure the introductory phrasing, using “others say” is a fair characterization of pensions - there is no question that the pension is a contract. Now, the scope of that contract (does it protect future or only earned benefits) is debeted.

    I think #7 is more reflective of the priority of these - i.e. to solve the state’s fiscal problem, cut waste first, then cuts and revenue increases, tax increase as a last resort.

    Rich and others have already said - new taxes, no way. Could be the political strategy is to throw it to the courts and, if the ruling requires new taxes, blame the courts for any tax increase.


  21. - youre-it - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    I for one stand in strong support of Waste and Inefficiency. It will not be cut on my watch.


  22. - Fred's Mustache - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    ===Does anyone have a site to compare revenue vs. spending distribution through the state?===

    From every analysis I have seen, Downstate spends more than the revenue it generates.


  23. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:25 am:

    Cover
    I believe the high percentage is related to the high frustration of taxpayers seeing waste and abuse everyday. THere is not 7 billion is W,F, and A, BUT why not attack it as a matter of good governance?
    You seem to repudiate / denigrate the proposition that there is vast waste, fraud, and abuse by automatically assuming there is not $7 billion, so quit addressing the budget problems by including This very sizable reason for much of it.


  24. - Bill - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:36 am:

    ==So is raising the retirement age from 50 to 67 draconian? ==
    C’mon. The age to retire without penalaty is not 50. People could still retire early at a reduced benefit or continue to work. Their choice. There are already provisions for medical disability.


  25. - Joe M - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:38 am:

    The various plans to require people in the pension systems to work till age 67 may save money on the pension ledger. But working till 67 will increase cost overall by having to continue to pay the high salaries of those at the end of their careers - as opposed to the lower salaries of new people that would be taking their places if the older folks retired earlier. So is there really a savings in having people work till 67? I’m curious if anybody has any figures on that?


  26. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    Unless it’s made permanent before then, the 2014 race for Governor will be a referendum on making this temporary increase permanent. It will be tough sailing for a candidate to campaign in favor of it, especially with these poll numbers. But Jim Edgar managed to do it in 1990, so it’s possible.

    And the candidates who tell you they can effectively operate government without making the tax permanent will be lying. If you fall for it, you only have yourself to blame.


  27. - illinifan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:00 pm:

    When looking at Illinois, revenue has always been a major problem. Artificially keeping us at the 3% was not realistic (resulting in our debt) and comparing us to Wisconsin makes no sense. Their tax rates range from a low of 4.6% to 7.75% indexed to income. To tackle the debt we have to continue to address revenue. Revenue from the taxpayers as well us as retirees.


  28. - Shore - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:08 pm:

    For those from outside the area- Bruce Rauner on chicago tonight last night talking about chicago’s new “$30 BILLION-according to wttw”tourism marketing plan.
    http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2013/02/20/venture-capitalist-bruce-rauner


  29. - retired and fed up - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:09 pm:

    Pension costs will also be higher. Working longer will increase the percentage of final salary or final average compensation as workers get a pecentage for each year worker.


  30. - retired and fed up - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:10 pm:

    that’s each year worked not worker.


  31. - Liberty_First - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:11 pm:

    Notice no where in the poll is it state that the state skipped payments while employees paid.


  32. - Bob - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    Maybe SIU and the state of Illinois needs to stop funding the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. The state can’t pay their bills and SIU want to raise tuition again. With our current financial crisis, its looks like we have our priority’s wrong. I wonder how much of the SIU $860 million dollar budget, goes to the Paul Simon Institute.


  33. - foster brooks - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    Bill go to the SERS website and look up alternative formula


  34. - Another Patriot - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:15 pm:

    Quinn had plenty of money to build that nice new trackage for the Union Pacific. Note the Federal part but the state part. How about the various millions handed out to various businesses across the state in the form of incentives and lets not forget the public welfare “must have for our most precious” programs.
    Illinois has a spending problem


  35. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:20 pm:

    This poll forgot the important question: “would you support magic fairy dust removing the State’s financial crisis without cuts or tax increases?”


  36. - Liberty_First - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:23 pm:

    Raising the age to 65 reduces the benefit by reducing total amount you can collect. Someone explain to me how that is any more doable than the other proposals.


  37. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:29 pm:

    ===This poll forgot the important question: “would you support magic fairy dust removing the State’s financial crisis without cuts or tax increases?”===

    That would be the “waste” question.


  38. - Cook County Commoner - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:42 pm:

    I just checked the House calendar, and it shows Feb 26 as the deadline for submission of new bills. Is this date chiseled in stone? Are we to expect a flurry of new pension related bills before then?


  39. - jake - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 12:48 pm:

    Points up again why we need an amendment to the State Constitution to permit the legislature to enact a progressive income tax. Continuing the 5% flat tax continues a tax structure that is punitively high for low-income people, but still doesn’t raise enough revenue to deal with our fiscal crisis. It is instructive to compare our tax structure with neighboring Iowa. They have a graduated rate that runs from less than 1% to over 9%, so the average is about the same as our 5%. But the tax bill for the vast majority of Iowans is lower than for the corresponding group of Illinoisans. Only the top 10% of incomes pay more than the corresponding group in Illinois. The arithmetic is simple. If you lower the rate by 2% for somebody making $40,000 a year, but raise it by 2% for somebody making $400,000 a year, you bring in a lot more revenue. The present Illinois tax structure is not only unfair but it is also stupid. It looks to find its revenue where the money isn’t.


  40. - Geneva Guy - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:10 pm:

    @ Joe M…I’m no math wizard but I’m guessing that a substantial percentage of the cost of the 66 year old’s high salary will be offset by the fact that you’re not paying for both: 1) his retirement pension and 2) an annual salary for his replacement worker.


  41. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:15 pm:

    Why are we still providing pensions to public workers? I can accept an argument for honoring existing obligations to current employees.

    But for new hires? I sincerely want to understand why we continue to put our kids and grandkids on the hook for unsustainable debt.

    Can anyone fill me in here?


  42. - reformer - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:21 pm:

    The majority of voters opted for the supposedly painless route of cutting waste and inefficiency to fix the problem. Too bad the pollster didn’t inform them that IL already has the fewest number of state workers per capita of any state. And that IL already provides the smallest proportion of education funding of any state. And that IL is a relatively low spending state. If people understood reality, perhaps they opt for a more realistic plan.


  43. - jake - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:27 pm:

    @ Anonymous: Why are we still providing pensions to public workers?

    Everybody should have a pension, public and private employees. What is the alternative? Are we going to start killing off people who can no longer work?


  44. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    There must be a reason why 35 states tax their citizens in a graduated manner, as Iowa in the above mentioned post. They don’t seem to have the tax revenue problem that we do in Illinois. Given that we’ve had a revenue problem for decades on end (explaining the diversion of appointed pension monies away from the funds), what’s there not to understand?


  45. - ISay - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:37 pm:

    Why are we still providing pensions to public workers?

    Why AREN’T we providing pensions for all workers? Just because private businesses screwed their employees out of their plans so they could reap more profit for themselves doesn’t mean that should become the new standard for workers. Pensions are important to public workers who have no social security, which is a huge number.


  46. - Johnnie F. - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:38 pm:

    So when did the GA apporopriate funds for this line item for these raises? Just more game playing and an attempt to divide and conquer the ranks. Expect the 42 million in unspent uncontested personnel money from last fiscal year to begin hitting employee bank accounts just as the strike is authorized. Divide and conquer. I won’t be fooled into trust.


  47. - Johnnie F. - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    Sorry, I posted my last comments on the wrong thread.


  48. - Geneva Guy - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 1:54 pm:

    I don’t understand the public response to #6, especially the suburban response. The NEA documents that Illinois is far and away the national leader in percentage of revenue for K-12 public schools coming from local government. Local government = property taxes. So, if you own a home and are happy to shoulder more of the burden of paying the local teachers, even though you already shoulder more of that burden as compared to every other property tax payer in every other state in the union, then by all means, keep blithely responding to poll questions.

    Further, if you live in a collar county, you might also want to investigate your property tax burden as a percentage of your home’s value and compare that with the rest of the nation. Hint, you’re probably in the top 1% of all US counties.


  49. - Nickypiii - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:31 pm:

    47th ward is right any politician who says the State doesn’t need the 5% income tax is a liar or just plain stupid. Lack of revenue has been, and still is, the problem. Tax services too while were at it. It a consumption tax that only taxes those who use those newly taxed services.


  50. - Cook County Commoner - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    “Pensions are important to public workers who have no social security, which is a huge number.”

    When this item is thrown out in support of public pensions, remember that the government employees who do not recieve it also did not pay into it. This freed up the employee’s FICA contribution for personal investment and should have resulted in increased wages or a pension contribution in what would have been the employer’s FICA share.

    And what a great deal social security is compared to an IL public pension. Kidding. What state worker wants to wait until 66 for full benefits, which is at max $2533 for 2013, no matter what you paid in. And no 3% COLA.

    Please all you gov workers out there. I feel your pain. But stop trotting out that lame “I don’t get social security” stuff the union gives you. It’s specious.


  51. - Meaningless - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:57 pm:

    A big Hoo-rah to Joe for pointing out the stupidity of Illinois archaic tax system. The poll numbers in this post are bacisally useless because of the wording and what the questions are asking. Is there anybody that would like to pay any taxes if they had the choice? One more thing … Rich, you stated increased revenue from the temporary tax increase that “… operating spending has actually gone down. The budget has risen because of the pension payment.” While this may be true, it implicitly supports the ridiculous “Squeezy” notion that our governor trumped-up. What about the information telling the public that approximately 2/3 of this year’s pension payment is going towards the debt on the unfunded liability because of incompetence and neglect?


  52. - illinifan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 3:55 pm:

    to “Cook County Commoner” somehow I don’t think the decision to not be in Social Security was fully the employees choice…the state under IRS code established the employee pension plans and had to show the plan was at least as good as social security or better. If it was worse the state would then have to have their employees in Social security. So the question has to be asked why would the state want to show the pension plan met the IRS requirements that the pension was good or better than social security? I believe they knew the state knew they were not going to contribute the full employer contribution to the pension and use the money to pay other bills(with social security IOUs are not accepted). In addition it also kept a huge pot of money with the retirement systems that could be used for investments made by friends of the legislature. And how does this free up the employees contribution if the employee is paying 8 or 9% of the salary into the pension system? This is paying more than what is contributed to Social Security at 6.25%(not all state employees are members of school districts that pay the employee share, some state employees do actually pay into the system. If a member of a system that has to be in Social Security as well we paid our 4% to SERS then the 6.25 to SS for a much higher contribution than just Social Security.


  53. - wishbone - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    People have to understand that the tax increase is permanent, and then get over it. As to fixing the state’s fiscal problems modest across the board cuts are the only answer. A state legislature that thinks that spending $95,000 to fix a porch on an old house in Geneva is a wise use of taxes can’t be expected to prioritize spending cuts.


  54. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 4:23 pm:

    Anyone who believes that the tax increase will go away is engaged in wishful thinking.

    Anyone who believes that the people of Illinois will support another tax increase is engaged in wishful thinking.


  55. - Meaningless - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 4:58 pm:

    How would “the people” of Illinois not support anything the legislature and governor put into law. THE PEOPLE is a very vague and misunderstood term that very often is used in a simplistic expression of one’s own views. Now, if you want to talk about special interest groups and lobbyists that’s another story. Who are “THE PEOPLE” anyway?


  56. - Ruby - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 5:12 pm:

    to Cook County Commoner,

    Social Security does include an annual compounded cost of living increase.


  57. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 6:18 pm:

    Illinifan, the decisions about SS coverage were made in the 1930s for teachers and universities and in the late 1960s for State employees, by referendum of the eligible members.
    Additionally, the investment authority for the funds at that time was the old, “legal list” standard and basically all the investing was handled by the Trust Department of the Marine Bank. Hardly the environment for pinstripe patronage.
    Moreover, I find it highly unlikely that the original crafters of these plans were designing the SS carve-out as a way to avoid future State contributions.
    Sorry, but that dog just don’t hunt.


  58. - Excessively Rabid - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 6:23 pm:

    I would agree to an extension from raising the same amount of revenue from the income tax. I think it should be done differently: eliminate the Illinois earned income credit; eliminate the exemption of non-combat active duty pay; tax pension/Social Security income over $50K/person. If you did those things you might be able to keep the same revenue level with a 4% rate. In general I would like to see the Illinois tax code 1.be more of a revenue device and less of a redistribution scheme, and B. for it to more closely resemble the Federal arrangement insofar as that’s consistent with the first goal.


  59. - Excessively Rabid - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 6:25 pm:

    Oh yeah, eliminate the Illinois property tax credit. All these things just make the return more complicated while merely moving money around instead of raising revenue.


  60. - wishbone - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 6:41 pm:

    “Social Security does include an annual compounded cost of living increase.”

    Yeah, but it is an actual tied to the price index protection of purchasing power, not the 3% gouge of the taxpayers enjoyed by pampered state pensioners.


  61. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 6:55 pm:

    Historically, the CPI has averaged 2.9% (last 40 years) to 3.2% (100 years). The fixed 3% just seems high now because the Fed has deliberately depressed the rates.


  62. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 7:00 pm:

    63% opposed sounds about right. Yet 100% want all of their Illinois Government services funded. So, DOES money grow on trees? Been a strange winter so far–maybe I should go look…!


  63. - PublicServant - Friday, Feb 22, 13 @ 7:39 am:

    RNUG, thanks for the stats. Hopefully some commenters that seem to be stat-phobic will modify their “gouge” rant…but I doubt it. They’re usually members of the “repeat a lie enough and it will eventually become truth” club.


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