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A very good question

Thursday, Jan 30, 2014

* SJ-R

“What are [Gov. Pat Quinn’s] plans because he promised the 67 percent income tax hike would be temporary?” Dillard said. “What are his plans to roll that back? I’m more concerned about what he didn’t say than the perfume he put on the pig to cover up the fact we are rated 50th in economic outlook.”

“I wanted to hear his commitment to the tax cut,” said Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, another of the GOP contenders. “He failed to recommit to that.” […]

The fourth Republican seeking to replace Quinn, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford, said he understood why Quinn wouldn’t discuss the income tax issue in a State of the State speech.

“A tax increase is not popular to talk about. I understand why he wouldn’t do it,” Rutherford said. “Today was a speech for him to give the positives.”


Bruce Rauner, was unable to speak directly [to the consequences of the sunsetting tax hike], but he didn’t hold back in his criticism of the governor’s speech. Rauner says Illinois is in an “economic death spiral” and Quinn “is trying to cover it up and put a rosy picture on it.”

* Quinn’s budget speech is next month, so we’ll hear more about the tax hike problem then. But they’re right that the governor has been almost completely silent about this issue.

By the governor’s own estimation, the expiration of the tax hike will most definitely create a huge hole in the state’s budget and he needs to be far more upfront about it.

And, of course, without a doubt Speaker Madigan ought to explain soon how his proposed 50 percent corporate income tax cut will be paid for.

* That being said, maybe I’ve just missed it, but when have any of the GOP candidates ever laid out any sort of real plan for dealing with the massive budget cuts that will be required by the tax hike sunset? They’re demanding something from Quinn that they won’t discuss themselves.

Also, “unable to speak directly” to the issue of the tax hike is a charitable way of saying that Rauner dodged the question.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:39 am:

    The “unable to speak directly” seems to be a Life Pattern, or at the least a Campaign Pattern for that Crew.

  2. - PublicServant - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    Have any of the candidates responded to your most excellent set of questions yet, Rich, the temporary tax sunset being one of them?

  3. - walker - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    I wonder if the “Death Spiral” phrase/meme has been spread to every Republican candidate around the country.

    They, (Rove’s operation out of his White House office), used to do that to all the right-wing radio folks, “Institutes”, and national Fox News production staff via e-mail blast, every time they called for a new catch phrase. The same phrase would pop up from California to Indiana to Florida all within two days, even among legislative candidates.

    I don’t know if the AFP or Koch Brothers have maintained that service.

  4. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    It’s a fair question that should be answered by all.

    Beginning with the governor as the leader of our state, and followed in short order by those who wish to replace him.

    They’ve all had time to see this coming. And if they didn’t they better figure it out quickly.

  5. - really? - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    Stop it already. The tax increase is here to stay. Did anyone ever really think it was temporary? Maybe a few voters thought that, but there has never been any intention of letting it expire by any politician of either party.

  6. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    Interesting, “Death Spiral” and “Death Panels” only differ by 2 letters.

  7. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    (That was in reference to walker’s post about “Institutes”)

  8. - A guy... - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:07 am:

    Skeptic, it takes a lot of time to be that clever.

  9. - Anon - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    Rich identified the GOP double standard: Quinn gets criticized for not addressing how to cope
    with the several billion dollar budget hole. Yet none of those who would be governor have yet done what they demand from Quinn. Why not lead by example, Bruce, Kirk, Dan and Bill?

  10. - LGHB - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    Discussing the tax increase becoming permanent is a reality that the GOP field has largely dodged outside of Rutherford. Mainly, because it’s almost political suicide to do as much. Rutherford at least stuck his head out to discuss that the tax increase might have to become permanent if budget cuts can’t be found & the pension problem isn’t solved quickly. However, Rich is right that nobody in the GOP field can specifically name cuts to be made to equal the loss in revenue if the tax increase is allowed to sunset. It’s a catch-22 almost. The GOP field can’t loudly discuss keeping the tax in the primary & whoever wins the primary can’t really discuss cuts in an effort to appease as many people as possible. They can all pay cuts & taxes lip service all they want but the impending budget hole can’t be filled with rhetoric.

  11. - olddog - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    Wow. Death spirals, genocide in the 17th Congressional District. What’s next? A zombie apocalypse in the Stratton Office Building?

  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:21 am:

    ===What’s next? A zombie apocalypse in the Stratton Office Building?===

    Already happened.

  13. - olddog - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    @ Rich –

    Game, set, match!

  14. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:46 am:

    === The tax increase is here to stay. ===

    Obviously not.

    We suddenly have enough money to discuss new capital funding.

    Plus, the corporate tax increase that was part of that “tax increase” is no longer “here to stay”.

    These developments in recent weeks obliterate the basic case for extending the tax hike, and it was done by the Democrats’ own hand.

    If we need more revenue, then state leadership on both sides sure aren’t proving it very well.

    They also lose credibility every time they plead, “We’re broke!” and “We need more revenue!” only to then turn around and magically discover funding streams for their preferred projects.

    Nothing is static, nothing is concrete, and very little our “leaders” say is believable on either side of almost any issue.

  15. - zatoichi - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    This is the ‘kick the can’ day of reckoning. Each party’s traditional catch phrases all ring very hollow when the realization finally kicks in that there is no more budget wiggle room. Keep the illusion that costs never increase, services never expand, and roads never go bad and you never need those taxes. Unfortunately costs rise, those service do increase, and roads need to be replaced. Reality just will not go away.

  16. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    Rather than jumping on the Republicans who want the “temporary” tax increase to end, and demanding their solutions to the revenue shortfalls it will create, how about asking all those Democrats who voted for it, including Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullertion, what THEIR plans are going forward if this happens.

    Why are the Democrats getting a free pass here?

  17. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    ===Why are the Democrats getting a free pass here? ===

    Um, dude, did you not read my post?

  18. - Mokenavince - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    I don’t think no matter what the rhetoric, that this tax will never be repealed. Both parties know it but dance around the question.

    Plans ! Who needs stinkin plans?

  19. - jake - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    If Quinn really wanted to support a progressive income tax, this was the time to do it, together with a pledge that he would veto any progressive tax schedule that did not provide tax relief for a majority of Illinois taxpayers, while still insisting that the wealthy pay their share; i.e., more than they do now. What a missed opportunity. This was really teed up for him–more revenue to get the state out of the hole and tax relief for most people. Really sad.

  20. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    – Maybe a few voters thought that, but there has never been any intention of letting it expire by any politician of either party.–

    It will expire without a vote from the GA and a governor’s signature.

    Not the importance of “governor” in the equation. If you’re running for governor, you have an obligation to explain your game plan. It’s the only real issue out there.

  21. - Smoggie - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 12:53 pm:

    Brady never answered in 2010, and nobody really called him on it.

    His failure to answer the question sure did not seem like a factor in his loss.

    There is no upside to answering it.

  22. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    The tax issue isn’t about more revenue. It’s about MAINTAINING revenue. Anybody that wants to let it expire is simply being irresponsible. If you want it to expire, fine. Let’s hear your ideas on how you are going to plug the multi-billion budget hole. I agree it needs to be discussed but I want it discussed in terms of reality which requires fortitude to tell people it must not expire.

  23. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    Maybe we are talking past each other Rich. So what is the Democratic plan anyway? From Quinn? Madigan? Cullerton? Other elected Democrats who voted for the temporary increase?

    I repeat. What is THEIR plan? These “tough questions” need to be levied against the leadership and candidates of BOTH parties in Illinois. Instead, it is often just concentrated on “How are you Republicans gonna fix this?” type of questions.

  24. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    I just got home from lunch with a friend, and one of the things we talked about was how no one, not the media, not the question askers at the debates, no one, is calling out the R candidates for a direct and clear explanation of what they would do with the budget after they allow the income tax increase to expire. Where would the cuts be, and how much?

    Then I get home and see this post, Rich. I guess great minds think alike. Of course they don’t want to answer the question. All the more reason someone needs to insist they do.

    Now, I say all this assuming that Governor Quinn will lay out his proposed solution in his budget address, and I assume that proposal will call for a way to replace most of the lost revenue, either by extending the current tax in some form, or by replacing it with other revenue generators. And then, he’s a tax and spend guy, and we Rs are fiscally responsible anti-tax guys, without having to defend our proposal because no one with cred is insisting on it. How sad.

    I’m as willing as anyone to say that if we are spending more than we are taking in, that is a mistake and may necessitate spending cuts. But by no other rational measure that I know of are we spending too much, not compared to what other states spend per capita, not compared to what we were spending just 10 or 12 years ago, not by spending as a percent of per capita income or of gross state product, or of gross income. I would be glad to have someone show me some rational measure that says we are spending too much. Absent that, we have a revenue problem.

    I know this won’t endear me, but we have to have the discussion. Upon whom do we intend to inflict the pain, and how will we apportion it? I assume the Governor will tell us his answer in his budget address. When will someone demand our side do the same?

  25. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 2:42 pm:

    Schnorf, don’t you ever get sick of being the only grown-up in the room?

    I kid, brother.

    It used to be “drugs are for people who can’t handle reality.” Now, it’s politics.

  26. - Bobbysox - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    AFTER the election, they will (gasp) kick the can down the road. They will neither let it lapse nor will they make it permanent. They will extend it for exactly two more years.

  27. - Arizona Bob - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 4:28 pm:

    ===What’s next? A zombie apocalypse in the Stratton Office Building?===

    Already happened.=

    I know. I was at a few of those SEIU demonstrations.

  28. - walker - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 4:41 pm:

    ===there has never been any intention to let it expire by any politician of either party===

    Simply false. That’s way too cynical and mistrusting.

    A scenario was produced the week of the tax increase vote, which required the passing and implementation of four key bills, and a forecast of economic recovery, that would allow the tax increase to sunset on schedule.

    Some politicians with better financial and economic skills were highly skeptical, and some pushed to admit this increase would likely be long-term or permanent. But more than a few believed the rosier scenario would play out.

    Naïve, optimistic, and inept, maybe, but not deliberately misleading for the most part.

    Then, the recovery did not occur anywhere near what most economists were then forecasting, and only two of the necessary bills were passed.

  29. - walker - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 4:48 pm:


    Word always says it better, but my thought on reading your post was:

    Breathe deep. The fresh air of reality has entered the room.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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