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Tax hike math

Thursday, May 15, 2014

* Remember the 2013 bill I wrote about recently which was co-sponsored by 11 Democrats to roll the income tax hike all the way back to 3 percent? Those co-sponsors were

Martin J. Moylan - Stephanie A. Kifowit - Sam Yingling - Katherine Cloonen - Natalie A. Manley, Deborah Conroy, Sue Scherer, Jerry F. Costello, II, Carol A. Sente, Patrick J. Verschoore and Kathleen Willis

* The Chicago Tribune editorial page dug up comments from individual House Democrats on the temporary tax hike and found five others who went on record against making it permanent

“I would vote to repeal the tax increase. I would not support extending the tax increase.”

— State Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg

“We made a promise to the taxpayers and we should keep to that promise. It was a temporary increase and it should be kept that way.”

— State Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates

“I do not support extending the increase.”

— State Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park

“I do believe the tax should be truly temporary. We should say what we mean and mean what we say.”

— State Rep. Fran Hurley, D-Chicago

“The tax should expire as planned.”

— State Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley

Add in Rep. Jack Franks as a sure “No” vote and newly appointed Democratic Rep. Anna Moeller and that’s 18 Democrats who’ve said publicly that they didn’t want to extend the tax hike.

Madigan has 71 Democrats. 71-18=53. 60 votes are needed for passage.

Of course, Rep. Mautino is a member of Madigan’s leadership team, so I assume some have already flipped.

But the task is most definitely difficult.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - anon - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    Its time to lock up the pet bills of these democratic members who are no on the extension. Members who believe that revenue is needed to fund important programs in the state should band together and deny the nos their legislative accomplishments. Talk about taking the legislative black and latino caucuses for granted> I hope both stand up and stick together.

  2. - Steve - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    Could anyone guess how many of these Democrat votes , in the House, would change their mind in a lame duck session?

  3. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 10:19 am:

    After beating the citizens into unconsciousness, some members of the Madigan gang stated that if the citizens looked like they would recover, they would never do it again.

    Then the clock struck midnight and they scampered out of the session to wash the blood off their hands.

  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    And then there’s the corporate income tax cut Madigan says he’s going to push.

    Like I said in the other thread, I don’t think all the cards are on the table yet.

  5. - Walker - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    The same challenge for all “no” votes on the extension:

    If you want to cut the current revenue, what cuts to current spending would you make?

    Amazing how arithmetic doesn’t count when trying to impress voters.

  6. - Moving on - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 10:23 am:

    Luckily humans have the ability to evaluate experiences and learn from them. Sometimes that means changing an opinion.
    I wish the term ‘flip-flop’ had never come into use. Do what you think is truly the right thing to do- period.
    Yes, this is the voice of an exhausted do-gooder lobbyist in May.

  7. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 10:25 am:

    Is anyone caring that not only is the leadership attempting to make their temporary income tax permanent - the purpose given originally to pass the tax increase, wasn’t honored either?

    It is like the thieves claiming they were robbing you to give poor children new shoes, then discover they spent the money on new weapons.

    So close!

    You could almost launch a ship in the pool of drool these tax lovers are expectorating.

  8. - Ghost - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 10:27 am:

    Anyone else picturing the out of touch with the times Dr. Evil setting out the budget…. Education, 1 millliooon dollars.

  9. - Anon - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    == Could anyone guess how many of these Democrat votes , in the House, would change their mind in a lame duck session?

    The number who lose in November plus the number who retire. Of course if Rauner wins, I don’t know why any Dems would take the blame for bailing him out.

  10. - Walker - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    VMan: Your scenarios are fun to read, and touch emotional nerves, but have virtually no link to reality. (If we ignore for the moment that perception can be reality.)

    The purposes for the increase were in fact honored, just not fully completed. Most of the increased revenue did go to paying old bills, and meeting ramped up pension payments, as promised. Other discretionary spending was held mostly flat, and multiple programs were canceled and most dramatically reduced. The economic assumptions did not fully come to pass, and other supporting legislation failed.

    There was no intention of “beating citizens into unconsciousness”, any feeling of “blood on the hands”, or scurrying away under cover of darkness. Quite the contrary. The biggest frustration was with those political hacks and pundits who oversimplified the challenges, and under-informed the public.

    There was a chance that this could be temporary, but it was a long shot. I agree it was wrong to call it that without always saying other things had to occur to allow it to sunset on time.

    Myths can be comforting. And myths and victim scenarios, as you well know, can move voters.

    I think you have a good sense of the politics of this, because in that arena, perception is indeed reality.

  11. - Almost the Weekend - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    =Could anyone guess how many of these Democrat votes , in the House, would change their mind in a lame duck session?=

    If Rauner wins believe me, they won’t be passing a tax hike for him, it makes his job to easy.

  12. - Bill White - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    This is what happens when you invite two girls to the prom. For a long time, the General Assembly has promised blue state services on a red state budget.

    And they made it work by shorting the pension contributions.

    Either way, these representatives will be breaking promises to someone.

    They have a simple choice - rally to the banner of John Cullerton and Michael Madigan or rally to the banner of Dan Proft and Joe Walsh.

  13. - Langhorne - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    “but, but, i didnt know then, what i know now.”

    “the economy has not recovered as much as we expected, so revenues are still down. education would be cut too much without making it permanent.”

    nobody mentions overdue bills anymore. lets get back to puppies.

  14. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 11:25 am:

    The GA handled this like they are criminals. They didn’t sell a majority of voters on the need for a tax increase. They deliberately wrote into the law an “out” to politically protect themselves by any outrage at the time, by claiming that their intentions were to use the money in a responsible way, and to make the increase temporary. The GA did not inform the public, the tax increase was handled like it was dynamite, under a cloak.

    The relationship between a majority of voters and the GA is the responsibility of the GA, not pundits, reporters or the voters. It was their ball throughout the year. They are elected to be responsible and accountable. They knew that increasing the income tax was unpopular and their behavior in passing this income tax increase was not above-board, nor was it defended. Instead, the response has been, “it is temporary”.

    That is crappy government leadership.

    If the GA needs more taxes, then it should be done in a way that is honorable - not this way. If the GA wishes for Illinoisans to respect them, then they should have handled the income tax increase in an honorable way - not this way.

    The anger from Illinoisans is justified. At a time when our state suffers being on or near the bottom rung on economic opportunities and employment, after jailing two governors and a congressman, anyone with a political pulse knows that the public feels that they want to move out of Illinois.

    Hence their cowardly approach to this budget.

    Our political players who are behaving this way call the shots on our wallets and have exposed themselves as people who feel justified to take our money. Yet they are doing this pickpocketing with political games in order to avoid being responsible or accountable.

    I prefer expressing these statements in humor and over exaggerated blogging.

    Our GA needs to be aware that they have lost the confidence of the Illinois voting majority and they need to take a step to restore that by doing the right thing and honoring their pledge regarding this income tax hike.

    Honor the pledge, then tell us the freaking truth for a change.

  15. - Toure's Latte - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    The discretionary spending is not the problem.

  16. - Bill White - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    VMan -

    The General Assembly has made conflicting promises. They cannot avoid breaking one promise or another.

    The question is which promise will they break.

    I firmly believe the course you advocate - allowing the tax increase to terminate without consensus on what expenditures will be cut - will worsen the problems Illinois faces, not lessen them.

    And if that happens, it will be Dan Proft who steps in to pick up the pieces, not Durkin or Radogno.

  17. - In the Middle - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    “Crappy government leadership.” Agree with VMan.

  18. - sal-says - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    I’m reminded of the saying: ‘If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.’

    Like everyone else, I’m not happy with extending the increase, but I then have these questions for each of the legislative critters who want the tax to expire:

    1) What specifically is your plan to mitigate the tax expiration?
    2) What and where specifically are your cuts? How much?
    3) Or, where will you get the revenue increases to offset the expiration?
    4) What specifically have you done to mitigate the expiration since it was signed into law?

  19. - Just Trying to Survive - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    ==The anger from Illinoisans is justified==

    Anger? It is RAGE from public employees. Apparently “taxpayers”, a group to which public employees belong, seem to have a lock on promises whereas constitutional language guaranteeing,(not promising) pensions that have been paid for by employees, is to be ignored whenever convenient by legislators. A constitutional amendment trumps promises but all the taxpayers will have to pay more tax dollars to see it challenged in court. The state is willing to spend your tax dollars on this, but not constitutionally guaranteed pensions.

  20. - truthteller - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    Every member of the General Assembly swore they would not violate the constitution, then a majority in both chambers voted for SB1, which was clearly (just ask Senator Cullerton) unconstitutional. Not as many legislators would have to change their minds to pass the tax extension.
    On the other hand, many more would have to break their promise to support one or more of the programs which would need to be cut if they voted against the tax extension.

  21. - Just Trying to Survive - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 12:50 pm:

    Often, when discussing the pension issue and how legislators have broken their promise to fund their appointed share, commentors have said that these are the people public employees have elected. One could make the same statement about taxpayers voting for legislators who have broken their promise about a temporary tax hike. Somehow, you just can’t control what they’ll do once elected or believe what they say to get elected, can you?

  22. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 1:00 pm:


    It would be more damaging to let the tax expire. That’s what they should be out there explaining. I don’t care what they said in the past. That’s irrelevant to me now. We can all whine and moan about how we were “misled.” Who cares now. It is what it is. They need to do the responsible thing which is to, at the very least, extend the current tax rate for a few more years.

  23. - Wally - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 1:13 pm:

    Demoralized, the “responsible” thing was to use the funds collected the last 4 years to pay bills. They didn’t do that!

  24. - Slick Rick - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    Someone needs to write a children’s book about why politicians aren’t allowed to change their minds.

  25. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 1:26 pm:


    That’s exactly what it was used for. A big portion of those “bills” paid was the retirement contribution.

  26. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    It would be more damaging to let the tax expire.

    I don’t agree. There is no reason our state leaders cannot level with us. There is no reason our state leaders cannot tell us that the truth regarding our budget. Our single party government has the same broken solution to our dysfunctional state government - more money. We don’t see any attempts to control how our money is spent wisely. We don’t see our public leaders acting on any reforms to make this horrible, inefficient and corrupt state government less horrible, less inefficient, or less corrupt.

    My god, if we didn’t have the police coming to take Rod Blagojevich away who is to say that Michael J. Madigan wouldn’t have co-chaired another election for him in 2010? Or Pat Quinn run alongside him for another term as well? Our politics has repeatedly demonstrated that our parties don’t nominate people even they trust, yet support wholeheartedly as long as they stay out of hand cuffs, and keep the public trough open.

    Now they think the only way they can get an extra buck for this mess of a government is to hide behind temporary tax increases pass during lame duck sessions, then renege on them? Just how cynical and repulsed they must be for the people whose taxes they raise like this? How little respect they have for us when they treat us like this?

    The right thing to do is to honor their pledges and let this tax increase expire. Then tell us what they think we need to do to get through the next year, the next decade and the next generation.

    You know - act like leaders.

  27. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 1:44 pm:


    Which is why I said they need to be out there explaining why it needs to be continued. I believe it is irresponsible to let the current tax rates expire . . . unless you favor decimating state government which I know is an option for some.

  28. - steve schnorf - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 2:02 pm:

    That was then, this is now

  29. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 2:10 pm:

    Schnorf, you’ll never change the mind of the Chronic Victims.

    What’s permanent and what’s temporary in government, anyway? Reagan cut taxes in 1981, then raised taxes a year later.

  30. - Ruby - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    Illinois’ flat 3% state income tax was the lowest flat tax in the country. Compare this to the graduated state income taxes in southern states:

    Georgia - 6% on incomes over $6000,
    Alabama 5% on incomes over $3000,
    Arkansas 6% on incomes over $20000,
    Mississippi 5% on incomes over $10000,
    Missouri 6% on incomes over $9000.

    When comparing Illinois’ state income tax rates with others, it becomes clear that we need more tax revenue and a graduated state income tax in Illinois that will produce the needed revenue.

  31. - Earnest - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    Whether you’re for or against it, passing a continuation of the tax increase this month would show leadership and political courage. Punting until after the election with a budget that can’t hold up for a full fiscal year would be disappointing.

  32. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 3:01 pm:

    Can the Trib man up and say what programs they want cut/reduced/eliminated?

  33. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 3:13 pm:

    Apples to oranges comparisons.

    The structures if the state and services supplied are very different between the states. The 7000 governmental entities each have their own revenue stream, which is added to the tax burdens. Do we want Alabama’s property taxes, you bet . Do you want their salary structure for public employees? Perhaps not.

    The issue is more complex than what you can put on a bumper sticker .

  34. - Just Trying to Survive - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 3:47 pm:

    Re Ruby’s list of graduated tax rates:

    There are 7 states with flat tax rates. If ILlinois returns to the 3% tax rate, we would be/were the lowest tax rate of all states with state tax. Look around to our neighboring states and their graduated rates…..8.98% on incomes over 60K in Iowa for example. Given the diversity of the population and the variety of needs in our state, it’s no wonder the lowest tax rate isn’t working. But here’s the list of flat tax rates in the 7 states, before our increase. You have to wonder why only 7 states have flat taxes, while the others have a graduated tax.

  35. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 3:53 pm:

    “this is what happens when you invite two girls to the prom.”

    Brilliant, Bill White!

  36. - Wally - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 4:13 pm:

    Ruby, how do the sales taxes compare in the state you list? Property taxes? Gas taxes?

    Demoralized, please list the additional revenues raised by the income tax increase, the projected payables due at the end of this year and the total payments made toward the pension obligations.

  37. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 4:36 pm:


    Please list the payables as they would have stood without the tax increase. You can try to say the money wasn’t used to pay down bills but you would be wrong. That’s just a fact. Period.

  38. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 4:39 pm:

    We don’t want anything at all from Alabama Plutocrat. Their whole system is a mess. This is a state that still enshrines segregation in the state constitution and has one of lengthiest and most bizarre constitutions in the world, one which deals with such minutiae as individual county probate judge salaries and which at one time was accidentally amended.

  39. - Ruby - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 4:40 pm:

    State and Local Sales Tax Rates in 2014

    Some Key Findings
    •45 states collect statewide sales taxes.
    •38 states collect local sales taxes.
    •The five states with the highest average combined state-local sales tax rates are Tennessee (9.45 percent), Arkansas (9.19 percent), Louisiana (8.89 percent), Washington (8.88 percent), and Oklahoma (8.72 percent).

  40. - Ruby - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 4:56 pm:

    State Individual Income Tax Rates, As of January 1, 2014

  41. - A guy... - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 5:06 pm:

    Sorry I missed most of this. I gotta quit this gig. There’s plenty to debate here.

  42. - Fight Fair - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 6:32 pm:

    Ruby, please, you are cherry-picking one tax, rather than looking at each state’s composite tax burden. Illinois is comparatively low on income tax, high on property tax, and so forth. If you’re going to use Tax Foundation data, which is smart, look at pages 3 and 4 of this report to see how Illinois ranks across the board in 2014 tax burden:

  43. - Wally - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 6:52 pm:

    Demoralized, they could have decreased payables by a thousand bucks and technically they paid it down. How much did they use for pension obligations and general payables and how much did they raise? What did they do with the excess?

  44. - Chi - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 7:21 pm:

    Per the Tax Foundation data, the better the business climate, the less business, and vice versa, with some oil-rich exceptions…

  45. - Bill White - Thursday, May 15, 14 @ 8:35 pm:

    = Illinois is comparatively low on income tax, high on property tax, and so forth. =

    The bulk of property taxes go to locally controlled school districts that Springfield cannot easily control or manage.

    In IL K-12 education employs more state / local workers than the national average and fewer state / local workers than the national average in other governmental sectors.

    I betcha that if education was put in one category and everything else in another, the Illinois ranking for state / local taxation and spending would rank far higher than 31st.

  46. - Pensioner - Friday, May 16, 14 @ 8:20 am:

    ‘Is anyone caring that not only is the leadership attempting to make their temporary income tax permanent - the purpose given originally to pass the tax increase, wasn’t honored either?’

    If had been made permanent in the first place it would have been long forgotten. They are reaping what they sowed.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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