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Question of the day

Monday, Feb 24, 2014

* Should the Illinois income tax increase be allowed to partially expire on schedule? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


survey solutions

- Posted by Rich Miller        


70 Comments
  1. - RNUG - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    Voted for permanent because I didn’t have the choice to vote for improved / refromed / expanded revenue collection.


  2. - Reality Check - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    Need a fourth option for “It should be replaced with the fair tax, with lower rates for lower incomes and higher rates for higher incomes.”


  3. - Fed up - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    How is your so called fair tax fair. People with higher incomes already pay higher taxes. I could understand if you said let’s gouge the other guy but fair no don’t think so.


  4. - Archimedes - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    Permanent. Pretty much the same as RNUG. I think that any responsible politician with any fiscal authority has to start dealing with reality. Maybe new revenues are part of it, but shirking the dysfunctional current mess is immature.


  5. - prisoner of cook - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    Let it expire. It was supposed to pay aoof past due bills but the GA & PQ just spent it on nwe boondoggles. They never use new revenue to fix old mistakes just make new ones!


  6. - Ahoy! - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    I think we should phase it out a 1/4% at a time down to 3.75% and readjust from there. I say this realizing that revenue and spending analysis would need to be completed before making any kind of bill. I would be more inclined to support reducing the income tax while looking at modernizing (expanding) the sales tax.

    While I support the gradual reduction of the income tax, Illinois can not afford to repeal as previously scheduled. Doing so gradually will allow the government to capture natural revenue growth, modernize the sales tax and implement spending reforms such as cleaning the medicaid rolls.

    Also, all revenue discussions needs to be in the context of growing the economy and fixing policies that will create jobs (workers comp, UI, etc).


  7. - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    I don’t trust that pension cuts will survive the courts, I don’t think that Medicaid should be cut more, and I don’t see enough other realistic spending cuts.

    So I voted for make it permanent.


  8. - Joe Bidenopolous - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    There are no realistic cuts that would balance the budget out there considering the backlog already in place. In lieu of a graduated tax option, I chose permanent.


  9. - ppanda - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    “You didn’t build that.” I’ll take Reality Check’s fourth option.


  10. - OneMan - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    Think it should be phased out over time… Wouldn’t object to it sticking around longer if it was used just to deal with the unpaid bills.


  11. - YO - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    Permanent. Otherwise, this is the proverbial kicking the can down the road in paying our bills. However, I agree with Reality Check but given the options, I voted permanent.


  12. - PoolGuy - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    I think it needs to stay where it’s for now. for those that say let it expire, but don’t specify billions in cuts that would be required, that makes no sense.

    even if it stays at 5% for another couple years, would still like to see reasonable spending cuts made. I’m all for letting it drop to 3.75% if we had a balanced budget.

    but compared to what other large and bordering states pay, 4-5% is not a ridiculous or extreme rate. we don’t have oil/gas like Texas or massive tourism like Florida to take it to 0%.


  13. - CollegeStudent - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    Barring any other options that would make sunsetting this hike revenue neutral, make it permanent. We’re out of things to cut to compensate.


  14. - Hickory - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    Let it expire but tax the lame ducks who voted for it.


  15. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    I voted for permanent, but that was a stand-in for the so-called fair tax. I think we can’t afford the revenue loss, and I’d hate to see more cuts made that would affect the most vulnerable and poor, when we could get revenue from those who can better afford it.


  16. - olddog - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    Permanent. You can’t get what you don’t pay for, and wishful thinking doesn’t pay the bills.


  17. - UIC Guy - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:43 pm:

    The State already has too little money to pay its bills. Ideally the Constitution should be changed to allow a graduated personal income tax (or we could have a 10% rate with a $40,000 per family exemption which is not as good but requires no amendment to the constitution). But just allowing the present rate to revert with no other changes? No way.


  18. - RWP - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    Reality Check has it right, but in the mean time we need the cash. Government provides needed services and it takes money to run government.


  19. - 47th Ward - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    It should be made permanent becuase arithmetic.


  20. - DateNight - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    Anyone who supports cutting the income tax please explain how you would cut $1.6 billion (loss of revenue) from this years Budget? Please be specific. And don’t tell me your going to “cut the red tape” and “get rid of the state airplanes.” Try to be as factual as possible when you describe what program you would cut and what it would save.


  21. - Bill White - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    @47th Ward

    Meh. Everyone knows arithmetic has a liberal bias.

    Repeal it because Freedom!

    /snark


  22. - Steve - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    Yes, it should expire. Why should politicians be able to get away with lies??


  23. - Makandadawg - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    I am disappointed that they seem to be stuck on just the top two options. Expire or continue. So because of that I believe the money is needed to fix current budget problems, Make it permanent.


  24. - davidh - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    No. No realistic ways to fill the revenue hole. Agree that a graduated fair tax is a better option, though.


  25. - frustrated GOP - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:04 pm:

    It’s lower then most neighbors and the state is still trying to pay off the bills it created over the last 20 decades (I’m being nice with only counting to 20 years).
    Fact is, they don’t have a way of paying for the bills without the money.


  26. - A guy... - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    It was passed as a “temporary increase” even by many of the cowardly lame ducks who voted for it. Expire. You want it to be permanent, then propose a new bill with a new assembly at the beginning of a term. Ax it.


  27. - Jim'e' - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    I said keep it permanent, but with the caveat that the Republican leaders gets to craft a budget. My guess is they couldn’t, even with the 5% tax, craft a balanced budget.


  28. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    Permanent. And if the graduated tax rate can’t pass, how about a graduated personal exemption based on income. It’s effectively the same thing without the rate itself being graduated (and therefore doesn’t require a consitutional amendment).


  29. - Same - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    Quin didn’t use the money for pensions last time
    & he won’t again! Let it die


  30. - train111 - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    Make it permanent.

    Anything else is bugedting with ‘magic beans’


  31. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    ===Quin didn’t use the money for pensions last time===

    Perhaps the most ill-informed blog comment of the year.


  32. - john - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    I voted permanent, but I agree with Reality Check. The best option would be a fair tax.


  33. - PoolGuy - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    Indiana has a 3.4 flat tax, but I believe some counties can assess income taxes up to 3%. so residents in some Indiana counties may be paying up to 6.4%.

    Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky have graduated taxes. hmmmm


  34. - Susiejones - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    I said phase it out. it was passed as a temporary tax but we are still in dire straits. let’s elect a new bunch of legislators who will actually make the hard decisions to gore someone’s ox (even mine) so we can see some sort of end to this problem.


  35. - Stones - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    Illinois needs the dough. I think most voters are smart enough to disregard sunset clauses as much as they are used as selling points for legislation. That’s why we still have toll booths.


  36. - Draznnl - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    I voted for make it permanent. If the option of “replace it with a progressive income tax” had been available, I would have chosen that. The state needs the money. There is little if any fat to cut from the current budget. Therefore, the only way to meet the obligations of government is higher taxes.


  37. - VanillaMan - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    You don’t make permanent any laws created in this manner.


  38. - Demoralized - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    Make it permanent. It would be financially irresponsible to do otherwise.


  39. - Sunshine - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    Let it expire.

    They gave us their word that it would expire….I think. They may have said “We think it will expire but we’ll just count on the money, spend it like it will always be there, and buy everyone a kitty.”


  40. - wondering in Lake County - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    Illioisians are the fourth highest taxed in the country. Why does everybody have a problem living within their means? Sorry, if it results in across the board cuts, so do it. There is enough money sloshing around in every government agency to be able to afford cuts.


  41. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    ===They gave us their word that it would expire….I think===

    A sunset is written into the law.

    But laws are made to be changed.


  42. - Demoralized - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    ==There is enough money sloshing around in every government agency to be able to afford cuts.==

    Only if you want to completely obliterate state government.


  43. - OldSmoky2 - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    I agree with many other commenters - passing a graduated income tax would be a better option, but if that’s not happening make it permanent.


  44. - LisleMike - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    Sunshine 2:50 beat me to my line. However, mine is a differnet take. It’s about time we do something to instill trust in the GA. ( I didn’t say R or D) We have serious work ahead of us as a state. If the past is prologue, the word of the electeds (Gov and GA) is no good. No matter the reason, it is untrustworthy. If they honored their word on this and let it expire, the next proposed increase would have at least the appearnce of honesty. Keeping it is the wrong thing to do, equal to past practices regarding pension support et al. When is someone’s word going to be good?


  45. - SAP - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    Keep it but raise the personal exemption and index it to inflation. Would serve as a quasi-graduated income tax that would not require constitutional amendment. According to David Merriman in the budget toolbox, after adjusting for inflation, the personal exemption is worth half of what it was when the income tax was instituted.


  46. - fed up - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 3:20 pm:

    The money is needed no doubt but that was known when Quinn lied to everyone before the election and stated he would veto any increase above 4%. Quinn lied and signed the 5% increase and no the problem didnt get worse in between the statement and the signing. Quinn and his lies and lack of leadership need to go. Their was a reason this tax was passed in the lame duck session with votes bought with the promise of state jobs. Madigan & Cullerton also knew the tax was needed and could not be sunsetted yet they did, bad policy and bad leadership.


  47. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 3:41 pm:

    I also voted permanent but what I really want is a graduated income tax.


  48. - Old Hippy - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    Why don’t they make the apparent obvious. Change constitution allow a progressive form of taxation including the taxing all pensions as well as deductions to protect low income individuals.


  49. - G'Kar - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 3:51 pm:

    I don’t want to pay the extra tax, but simple math says we have to pay the extra tax. We can’t cut our way out of the state’s fiscal situation. So, I voted permanent. I do support a graduated tax.


  50. - RetiredStateEmployee - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    Yes, because no one has a better idea so far…


  51. - Neglected stepchild - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    Boy, I’m glad 43 percent of the people here are rich enough to toss their money into the toilet hole of state government. Not Me!


  52. - Keyser Soze - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    When is a “temporary” tax something other than temporary? Better question, whatever happened to intellectual honesty, or honesty per se?


  53. - countyline - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    Let it sunset, so that our current crop of legislators can at least be honest and do something permanent.


  54. - Earnest - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 5:01 pm:

    I voted it should be made permanent. The state has a serious revenue problem. There are certainly other ways to address it, but this is the only thing out there with a decent chance of passing in the very near future.


  55. - have given up - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 5:34 pm:

    Permanent - stand in for graduated


  56. - Toure's Latte - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 5:41 pm:

    Let it expire. Embrace the chaos!


  57. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 5:44 pm:

    Leave it where it is unless you can come up with a plan to balance the budget and pay all the old bills with the lower rate. I’m listening.


  58. - Odysseus - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 6:58 pm:

    I’m with LisleMike @ 2:57.


  59. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 7:25 pm:

    The RIGHT and altogether HONEST answer is #2, although as a Master Compromiser Dillard has suggested, the option behind “Door #3″ can work, too, if need be, as a COMpromise, just so long as Illinois keeps those OBviously MORE than-needed Revenues flowing into paying off our GarGANtuan debts! Picking any other number is just plain, irresponsible Campaign/Election Year Gobbledygook and should be outright ignored and denounced as such…!


  60. - anon - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 8:34 pm:

    Let it expire, and Gov. Rauner can show us how he will balance the budget without those $billions.


  61. - HGW XX/7 - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 9:26 pm:

    The tax should be made permanent for now.

    Illinois has a revenue problem and until a progressive income tax is instituted this is the most viable solution.


  62. - cod - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 10:46 pm:

    Lowering the income flat rate tax from 5% back to 3.75% would result in a $3.8B reduction in revenue. That would be a giant hole in the budget for which nobody seems to have any solution other than vague ideas using unspecified reductions in spending.


  63. - Soccertease - Monday, Feb 24, 14 @ 11:12 pm:

    I voted to let it expire because it was temporary. If a new tax is necessary because the temporary tax didn’t solve the problems, then a new tax or another temporary tax should be passed to solve the current problems (e.g., if SB1 is ruled unconstitutional, current bill backlog, etc.).


  64. - nothingsuprisesme - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 6:31 am:

    I give up. Make it permanent. Do we have a choice? What would our credit rating be if we lowered our tax rate? The better solution would be to increase the personal exemption and increase the rate but I doubt if that’s feasible. But while we’re at it, go ahead and tax pensions in Illinois. How much revenue would this raise?


  65. - SERS retiree and concerned citizen - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 6:38 am:

    Keep the flat tax, and needs test some of the breaks. Instead of unconstitutionally whacking State Retirement Programs, begin taxing retirement benefits for any retiree over a certain income. This doesn’t hurt your competitiveness with nearby States, it increases revenue, and it is constitutional. I make more retired than my daughter may ever earn working and I pay no taxes for all the State services I receive. It’s a great deal for me but it sure isn’t fair!


  66. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 6:50 am:

    ===Quin didn’t use the money for pensions last time===

    “Perhaps the most ill-informed blog comment of the year.”

    I am an English teacher, so I like to parse words. I know that a huge portion of the money did get put into the pension system, but technically the money (at least a vast majority of it) is debt service. For TRS, less than $1 billion went to current went to fund current and future liabilities. The rest was for years of welching.
    I voted for phasing out. Then phase in a graduated income tax. Less shock to the system.


  67. - Frosty-The Snowman - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 8:30 am:

    Let it expire and make us live on what we make.


  68. - Excessively Rabid - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 8:41 am:

    Let it expire and change the base for the income tax to federal taxable income. That would raise a lot of revenue and be much more progressive than what we have now, without any constitutional questions. And cut the giveaways from the state income tax: EIC, real estate tax credit, and education tax credit.


  69. - Logic not emotion - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 9:12 am:

    They sold it as a temporary tax. They should be held to that. If they wish to pass a permanent tax (which would probably be prudent), they should vote to pass a permanent tax.

    To do otherwise just leads credence to all those who initially claimed the tax was going to be permanent and increases the justified distrust of state legislators/administration.


  70. - RNUG - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 9:14 am:

    - nothingsuprisesme - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 6:31 am:

    I ran some numbers last year on taxing retirement income, including both Social Security and pensions. Dependig on assumptions, you would most likely get between $0.8B and $1.2B. If there was a substansial deduction, say equal to average SS, then you are looking at the $0.8M end of it or even less. It’s not the gold mine people think it will be. The biggest new revenue source would be a sales tax on services, followed by an increased (or maintained) personal income tax.


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