* Sen. Kirk Dillard unveiled a proposal yesterday to lower the state’s gasoline sales tax by 3 percentage points and then using the remaining 2 percent state sales tax to fund a $1 billion capital program for roads and bridges…
“This will save a typical family in Illinois nearly $200 a year while also putting people to work on road and bridge projects that are in dire need of repair,” Dillard said in a press release.
OK, first of all, in nominal dollars, Illinois’ gross state product was $644 billion in 2012. So, a $1 billion construction project represents just 0.16 percent of GSP. Not a lot of relative growth from something like that.
More importantly, though, the plan would cut state coffers by $550 million (including the $100 million taken out of circulation for capital projects). How would he cover that hole? By “growing the economy,” Dillard told reporters yesterday.
Sorry, but hope ain’t a plan.
* Then there were the contradictions…
“Illinois has two taxes on gas and I propose, using, getting rid of the second one — as I long have,” said Dillard, who noted the state also has a 19-cent per gallon tax on gasoline. […]
Dillard in the past has recommended shifting revenues from the sales tax on gasoline to replace the use of video poker money as a source for state bond-funded public works projects. On Monday, he said video poker was in Illinois to stay.
Dillard is finally getting closer scrutiny from the Chicago media, and it ain’t great. Natasha Korecki points out a few in her most recent column and ends it this way…
When the Sun-Times asked Dillard whether rumors were true that he was thinking about voting against the pension bill to keep the possibility open for union support, Dillard was adamant: “I always supported pension reform,” he said then. “I can’t imagine I wouldn’t be [in support].”
He then voted against it.
So taking it all into account is Dillard’s clout issue just “one story”?
But if he isn’t careful, doubts about his credibility may begin to look like a “perpetual pattern.”
* Not to mention that Dillard and two of the other three Republican candidates definitely want the state income tax to sunset on schedule, which blows a $3.6 billion hole in state revenues the first full year of implementation, according to the governor’s budget office.
With that in mind…
[Sen. Bill Brady], the only GOP candidate for governor who supported a new law in December curbing state employee pension increases aimed at closing the state’s $100 billion unfunded liability, also said the measure’s passage would mean the scheduled reduction in the state’s income tax rate should go on as scheduled in January 2015.
“It will save us at least $1 billion or $1.2 billion in the first year, which lets the income tax go away,” Brady said.
Only in Fantasyland is that even remotely true.