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Quinn open to negotiating permanent tax rate

Monday, May 26, 2014

* Champaign News-Gazette

Gov. Pat Quinn indicated Saturday that he’s open to negotiating Illinois’ income-tax rate and might accept something less than the 5 percent individual tax rate he’s been campaigning for all spring. […]

“We’re working on a budget that’s balanced, that pays the bills, that pays for the things we want to do as a state, that helps our families. We can negotiate that. That’s part of political life,” he said. “But we’ve got to make sure that we have adequate revenue to pay for the programs that are vital to everyday people and their schools, and making sure that we take good care of people’s safety.”

Asked whether extending the current 5 percent income-tax rate is dead, Quinn said, “No, I think we have to work hard on getting the job done in a balanced way. Revenue has to equal expenditures.”

If that change gets them to 60 House votes, then maybe they should try. I’m just not sure it gets them to 60.

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


31 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    I would have more faith in this idea if Governor Patrick Quinn had a Floor Leader to negotiate with the Speaker and …and …the Rank and File.

    I would buy this tact, but without a Floor Leader to shepherd Quinn’s plan, or to start any negotiations with Legislative leaders or leadership, but Quinn lacks that skill set or level on his own. In reality, if Quinn can get MJM to allow a negotiated plan as described, Madigan might be better off with the same exact plan, sell it to everyone and their brother as Quinn’s and Quinn just takes it as a gift, and takes “credit” for a Madigan or Cullerton budget, crafted as Quinn describes.

    Might be the best solution yet, to the bad hand they all have.


  2. - east central - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    4.75% for 3 years to meet full pension payments while the case works through the courts, with a transition to 4% over the following 3 years. 4% matches Quinn’s original tax pledge, which makes it a magic number.

    The Democrats needed to remove the pension issue from the campaign which they did by passing SB1.

    Now they need to remove the tax increase from the campaign.

    Rauner has fought both because these issues are valuable to him in the campaign.

    If the Democrats do not get it done, Quinn loses big. Then Rauner & company go to work on GA seats in the subsequent elections.

    Passing a Plan B is the only politically responsible action.


  3. - steve schnorf - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    When I was in high school, our football coach used to say to our defensive ends, if you let them get outside of you, “it’s all over but the shoutin’”. I think that’s where we are.


  4. - Anonymous - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 2:46 pm:

    The math is simple, the pension plans need more money and lots of it. Either a tax extension or a cut in spending is needed to be done to make the math work. Either course of action by the GA and Quinn will be a political negative on election day but it needs to be done some day.


  5. - Norseman - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    If a reduced rate will get them to 60 votes, it would have surfaced in the rumor mills by now. I can’t see a legislator going to his constituents and telling them that I only voted for X% increase instead of Y% and then have to deal with spending reductions that would still be necessary.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 3:07 pm:

    ===I can’t see a legislator going to his constituents and telling them that I only voted for X% increase instead of Y% and then have to deal with spending reductions that would still be necessary.===

    Well put.

    The political reality of “it’s only…” Is a heavy lift, even if the governmental warrants that some stability in an increase is needed.

    Can’t be a “little pregnant”; can’t vote for a “smaller” permanency and expect that to be seen in the political optics as viable.

    Of course, if Quinn had a Floor Leader to negotiate any or all these possibilities, none would be a last resort.

    Great example of dysfunctional government not working when it’s starting to work.


  7. - east central - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    If they fail now, why should anyone have faith in Democratic leadership?

    Why should they have any base left if all they can do when holding the governor’s office and a super-majority in the GA is pass a budget with drastic cuts that hurts their traditional supporters?


  8. - Capitol View - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    I’ve been predicting for months that the state income tax would be dropped by 1/2 of 1% and made either permanent or continued for another five years. It is the only logical resolution here.


  9. - Cassandra - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    Let’s make everybody mad. The ones who want the tax increase to stay. The ones who want it to go. The ones who are fearful of cuts. The ones who want more cuts. The ones who want property tax relief (which presumably would be unaffordable at a lower tax rate, but who knows what Quinn is thinking). The ones who think Chicago rates are too low. Why would Rauner bother coming out with a master plan for the Dems to pick apart. They can self-destruct on their own.


  10. - jake - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 3:15 pm:

    A big problem is Quinn’s lack of popularity and lack of skill in working with the legislators. I believe that support among the Democrats for extending the current rate actually went down after Quinn met with the caucus.


  11. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 3:17 pm:

    Ummm … What date is it Mr. Governor?


  12. - Norseman - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 3:20 pm:

    === Ummm … What date is it Mr. Governor? ===

    Governor: “It’s Memorial Date! I get to ham it up in front of the veterans groups. Besides, I’m not doing any good in Springfield.”


  13. - Coach - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    I would tie it into the gambling bill and make one large bill! It is time to be creative and get votes! I’m sure you might find some out there to get you close to the 60 votes needed!


  14. - Anonymous - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 3:44 pm:

    Coach I think you might have a solution!


  15. - Anon - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    How about embracing the Civic Federation’s proposal of a more gradual decline in the rate? The Civic Fed can hardly be depicted as a bunch of liberal big spenders.

    Steve: Could you kindly explain how “it’s all over but the shoutin’” applies here?


  16. - Befuddled - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 4:23 pm:

    Extending it at 5%, or 4.5% or 4%, isn’t it all a broken promise? Better off all in or all out.


  17. - Anon - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 4:37 pm:

    == Isn’t it all a broken promise? ==

    Can you find any quote from Quinn promising the tax rate would drop back after four years? Since when is a sunset provision in a law a promise that the law will not be extended?


  18. - Befuddled - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 4:48 pm:

    Anon 4:37
    First of all, seriously? You want to act like Quinn didn’t sell this as temporary? Even if there wasn’t a quote, that defies logic. But here’s just one quote - there are many others.

    “The idea here is a temporary income tax to deal with the immediate fiscal emergency the state faces.” Pat Quinn, State Journal Register

    Temporary means it’s going away. There is no confusion there about what he’s saying. Give me this temporary tax increase so I can fix the problem. Otherwise, he would have said raise the tax permanently.


  19. - Anon - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 4:53 pm:

    == Isn’t it all a broken promise? ==

    Can you find any quote from Quinn promising the tax rate would drop back after four years?

    Since when is a sunset provision in a law a promise that the law will not be extended? It is merely a guarantee that a law will expire UNLESS it is re-enacted.


  20. - Befuddled - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 5:03 pm:

    Anon 4:53
    From Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

    “tem·po·rary adjective \ˈtem-pə-ˌrer-ē\

    : continuing for a limited amount of time : not permanent

    : intended to be used for a limited amount of time”

    Again, the Governor called the tax increase temporary. Part of the definition of temporary is “not permanent”. Now, Quinn wants to make the tax increase permanent - by logic - not temporary.

    It’s not that hard.


  21. - Befuddled - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 5:06 pm:

    The Research and Development Credit sunsets almost every year. But nobody refers to it as the temporary Research and Development Credit. Sunsets alone do not mean temporary or permanent.

    But when you call it temporary - that means temporary.


  22. - steve schnorf - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 5:21 pm:

    anon, because in fact I believe it is all over but the shoutin”


  23. - Anonymous - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 6:39 pm:

    He lied. Get over it. At least it’s not the immorality and legal defiance of the constitutional provision
    of pensions. This is minor. Supreme court won’t have to hear this one.


  24. - Steve - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 6:46 pm:

    Anything above 3% is still a tax increase: no matter how the Democrats spin it.


  25. - RNUG - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 6:48 pm:

    Time to get really creative … or maybe just plain crazy.

    Drop Quinn’s property tax rebate plan. Introduce a new bill to drop the income tax back to 3%, not the 3.75% it is scheduled to fall back to. That will cut something like $7B from the individual income tax.

    Then replace the revenue with a new sales tax on all services / labor at the current sales tax rate. Estimates have this equal to the current sales tax, which will bring in almost $10B if the estimates are accurate. I’m going to assume the estimates might be high and it will only generate the $7B needed to replace the income tax loss; it better to be conservative.

    Put this ALL in ONE BILL. Direct any excess over $7B for FY15 as follows: 33% goes to the 5 state level pension funds, 33% goes to various municipal pension funds, and the other 33% goes to the state road fund. If the service tax comes in at $10B, that’s an extra $1B for the state pensions, $1B for the municipalities and $1B to roads. Include a inflation adjustment raising the $7B threshold by 3% each future Fiscal Year.

    Income tax relief, property tax relief by shoring up municipal pension funds, and showing up the state pension funds. Fixes 3 problems with only 1 new tax. A lot of things to like and only 1 thing to hate.

    And here’s the best part; for municipalities that have a local sales tax, they gain a bunch more revenue also.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 6:49 pm:

    - Steve -,

    Keeping the tax permanent, is not an increase to what your taxes were before, it would be after; they would be the same.

    Being ignorant to facts does not make your drive-bys helpful.


  27. - RNUG - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 6:58 pm:

    The knowledgeable will catch this, but I should have noted at 6:48 PM I was using full fiscal year figures when I should have adjusted it for the half year effect in FY15. The numbers I used would be close for FY16.


  28. - 1776 - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 9:59 pm:

    Maybe if Quinn was in Springfield today rather than the Sox game he could help…

    On second thought, keeping him out of town probably helps Cullerton and Madigan!!!


  29. - low level - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 7:08 am:

    If it gets them closer to 60, by all means.

    My larger thought is that anyone who wants to be governor at this point in time must be completely out of their mind. This super wealthy Rauner guy wants that job? He’s nuts - OR, really doesn’t realize how difficult it really is.

    Bruce, I learned a long time ago: politics is easy, even fun in some cases. Governing is very very difficult. Be careful what you wish for.


  30. - Angry Chicagoan - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 8:04 am:

    What east central said.

    However, I think a good many of the Democrats in the legislature would rather deal with Rauner. Sometimes turkeys do vote for Christmas, without the full comprehension of what it involves in the long run, or else without the self awareness required to understand that one is, in fact, a turkey.


  31. - Doichef - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 8:13 am:

    Quinn: “Revenue has to equal expenditures.” No, Pat, your expenditures must equal your revenue! This is the typical illogical thinking that got us into this mess — establish the expenses and then raise the revenue to match it. That is literally the cart before the horse.


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