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Sullivan may be right

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014

* Illinois Radio Network

If Illinois lawmakers want to extend the income tax increase beyond this year, their decision probably will come late.

This is the assessment of State Rep. Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein):

“I don’t know that Speaker Madigan would like to put that out before an election, so this is all being driven by the election. If by some chance his candidate, Gov. Quinn, would lose, I think he (Madigan) would rather put that on the Republicans to figure that out,” he said.

If Gov. Quinn loses there will be huge pressure by many liberals in and out of the General Assembly to extend the tax hike indefinitely. But Sullivan has a pretty good handle on how Madigan usually thinks. MJM could very well just announce that the people have spoken and then toss this hot potato to whomever wins and maybe offer to work with him if and/or when he winds up in over his head - as long as he brings Republican votes to the table.

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


26 Comments
  1. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    Well it’s hardly good government, but yeah, I can see Madigan allowing the tax hike to sunset if Quinn loses. Politically, making the GOP governor either raise the income tax or slash state spending will enhance Madigan’s position.

    It’ll suck for the rest of us though, who depend on Illinois government to function well, provide needed services and pay its bills.

    Anyone who understands basic math knows the income tax has to stay at 5% permanently. Anyone who believes in fair and effective government knows we need a graduated income tax that generates more revenue.

    If someone argues otherwise, they either don’t understand math or they don’t understand state government.


  2. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    Can’t disagree. If this happens, God help the citizens of the State of Illinois.


  3. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    Seems the most Madigan (and in general politically wise) move.


  4. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    That makes a lot of sense.

    Unless, of course, Madigan truly is concerned about cementing his legacy and sincerely believes this tax increase is the best thing for the future of Illinois.

    In which case, he could surprise everyone and do what he thinks is “best for our state” rather than what is “best for me” and push through the extension with the help of retiring lawmakers - just as he did last time. Sort of a parting gift to the next generation.

    But that hypothetical scenario assumes Madigan would put the interests of the state ahead of his own… and it’s a pretty big assumption to make.


  5. - Ghost - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    It makes a lot of sense. Let the tax hike expire to take it away as election fodder; then let the next grp of elected officials hang the budget albatross around their neck without the money and start picking which schools and social services they want to ax to pay for it.

    For my part, I think its easier to stomach locking in the hike for taxpayers then it will be to retunr the money to them, and then have to come back and take it a second time… that is going to sour a lot more people then just making this permanent, but since so many politcians want to run on tax breaks, give them what they want; and when they win they get to figure it out how to actually run govenremnt on hope and rainbows.


  6. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 12:21 pm:

    Very plausible scenario. I think a lot of us here were already expecting the income tax sunset, if addressed, would be dealt with in the lame duck session.


  7. - Big Muddy - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 12:28 pm:

    =run government on hopes and rainbows.=

    How about we accept that state government doesn’t need to be doing all the things it is doing? Narrow the scope & do those things well and at a sustainable cost.

    If you look at the projected budget deficits ahead cuts are coming to programs whether we like it or not.


  8. - muon - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    A six month budget passed in May would set up a lame duck session in Jan to deal with the extension or another tax to replace it. If the progressive income tax is on the ballot it would give a reason to say that budgeting beyond six months should wait on the voter’s decision.


  9. - Just Me - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    It was unfathomable to the Brady camp four years ago that the GA would not do a tax increase if he had won. I remember saying something about it to a top staffer and he was absolutely sure that the liberal leaders of the GA would still do a tax increase during the lame duck if Quinn lost. That is when I realized that Quinn was going to be re-elected.


  10. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 12:57 pm:

    ==How about we accept that state government doesn’t need to be doing all the things it is doing?==

    That might be true, but the budget cuts that would have to take place if the tax increase isn’t made permanent would pretty much devastate state government.


  11. - Moving on - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    –”State Rep. Patricia R. Bellock (R-Hinsdale) says lawmakers who want the tax to go down must start working now to adjust the state budget so it can handle the loss of $2 billion in revenue.”–

    Bingo. You want it? Careful, cause you just might get it, and you’re going to need a plan.

    Folks who want to maintain current revenue and funding levels are sort of fighting an invisible enemy, given that no one from the “cut” camp will provide plausible specifics.


  12. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    If either of union owned candidates Rutherford or Dillard win, there’s no doubt in my mind they’ll keep the tax sucking the state dry and further reducing revenues due to loss of jobs and employers.

    There are things that could be done here to show good faith and get our finances in order.

    First, to deal with our infrastructure issues, we can get rid of economically damaging “prevailing wage” rules on non-Federal projects and drop capital costs for schools, municipalties and state government by 25-40% for the same service.

    We could show that we’re serious about the pension problems by only allowing 401Ks with state contributions dependent on state finances for all new TRS, SURS, CPS and other state non-contractually protected pensions.

    My guess is that the quality and quantity of applicants for public jobs wouldn’t drop an iota.

    We need to baseline pensions to lifetime contributions, similarly to Social Security benefit calculations, to give pensions fairly comparable to what participants contributed. This would save substantial unfunded costs for double dippers and reduce unfair end of career “spiking”.

    We could privatize investigation of Fraud and abuse state programs like Medicaid and state grants, and give the investigating company a percentage of the savings. Currently, there’s VERY little incentive to end the cheating.

    We could also fix the horrendous Education Labor Relations Act problems created in Illinois.

    Taking away the power for public school staff to strike (as is the case in 41 other states) is the only way to control spiraling, ineffective public education spending in Illinois. Oh, vouchers to fund the student instead of the system would be of a great help in improving the quality and cost effectiveness of education in Illinois, but that’ll take some time.

    We also need to address the education funding formula in K-12 education. It should become a safety net rather than an entitlement. In many suburban districts, they get about 10% of their revenues from the state, but they can afford to pay gym teachers $120K for nine months after 20 years experience. I think there are better ways for a bankrupt state to allocate resources.

    Of course, Quinn, Dillard, and Rutherford wouldn’t touch these ncessary steps, because their union benefactors won’t let them.

    Bottom line is that we need to increase revenues by growing the Illinois economy, which now is considered the WORST corrupt culture for job and business growth in the nation.

    Lower taxes, stop the “incentive crony capitalism”, fix fraud in spending and seriously address the pension issues and MAYBE businesses will consider coming or expanding here again. Much of our deficits are from driving jobs, revenue and income from the state for the benefit of a minority made up of unions and crony scammers.

    The only ones who MIGHT be able to tackle these issues is Rauner.


  13. - Siriusly - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    If Quinn loses no way Madigan does this in veto. You won congratulations, good luck.


  14. - Big Muddy - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    To the post.
    Sullivan is probably right on this one. The Repub’s should have a plan for the tax sunset. I hold little hope of them actually having one however. That is why the GOP is where it is in this state.


  15. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    If Quinn loses, Madigan will let the new guy wear the jacket.

    Careful what you wish for, especially you folks downstate who rely the most on GRF, you might get it.


  16. - fed up - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    47th Ward.

    “If someone argues otherwise, they either don’t understand math or they don’t understand state government.”

    So Quinn, Madigan, & Cullerton either dont understand math or state government. Since they all felt sunsetting the tax was a good idea.They didnt get one GOP vote and did it in a lame duck session.
    Interesting position 47 agree with me or your just ignorant.
    Do I think the tax needs to stay yes, but the whole im right, anyone that disagrees is stupid, is whats wrong with government on all levels today.


  17. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    If Quinn gets beat by a Republican who runs on lowering taxes, it seems unlikely that Quinn would give them the money. And, if Quinn wouldn’t sign it, Madigan would not have his people cast a vote on it.

    On the other hand, if the graduated tax makes it to the ballot AND passes, it would be hard for anyone to argue that “the people” don’t want something done. In that case, who knows what would come out of the GA? Perhaps a 90% tax on all income above $10 million as a gift to Bruce.


  18. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    Another way of putting it:

    Instead of arguing over which party is “wrong” or “worse” on this issue, what if they’re both wrong and acting selfishly?


  19. - cover - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    = stop the “incentive crony capitalism”, …

    The only ones who MIGHT be able to tackle these issues is Rauner. =

    Given his history with TRS, Rauner would certainly be an expert on crony capitalism, wouldn’t he?


  20. - Toure's Latte - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    When it comes to what Madigan thinks, all I know is he is thinking way ahead of everyone.


  21. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    ==but the whole im right, anyone that disagrees is stupid=

    I think what he said is that this is an issue of basic math. He’s not wrong about that.


  22. - captaingeorge - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 2:36 pm:

    If tax stays long term deficit cut in half per some studies. Flaw - assumes state spending will remain static and pension reduction which by itelf only drops the deficit a little over $1billion more than without it. If MM puts the issue in Republican’s lap, the pork may dry up. He needs the bacon to keep D in power in legislature. Interesting conundrum to sit back and watch unfold.


  23. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    ===He needs the bacon to keep D in power in legislature.===

    Nah. You’d be surprised what a Republican governor with a massive budget deficit does for Democratic House prospects and for keeping HDems in line.


  24. - Anon - Wednesday, Jan 22, 14 @ 7:23 pm:

    Could the GOP gov pull a Thompson and raise taxes shortly after being elected 86on a cut-taxes platform?


  25. - ash - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 8:29 am:

    Since Madigan has proven time and time again that good politics and power is more important than good governance for the state or its people, I’m with 47th ward. He may sink the ship even further, but he will remain the captain.


  26. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    I’m not sure where all of the folks are coming from who infer MJM “should” do something as a matter of good public policy in veto/lame duck if Quinn loses. If an R wins, likely on an anti-tax platform (perhaps Rutherford excluded), then the people have spoken and that R should come up with a plan. Half the state would accuse MJM of hijacking the process if he made it permanent in that scenario, and the Governor, whomever it may be, would have a ready-made whipping boy for four years.

    You win, you solve it. That’s what executive power is all about.


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