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Polling the obvious

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014

* Reboot Illinois has more poll results

“As you may know, in 2011 Illinois lawmakers passed a temporary income tax hike that raised our tax rate to five percent. That increase expires this year, and if lawmakers do nothing, the rate will drop to 3.75 percent. We’d like to know what you think would be the responsible thing for lawmakers to do…let the rate drop, or keep it at the current rate.”

So, of course 65 percent of respondents are gonna say let it expire. I’m surprised it’s that low, considering the way Reboot worded the question

When divided by region of the state, the poll showed the majority of voters in Chicago, suburban Cook County, the collar counties and downstate all favor letting the tax rate fall. In Chicago, 56 percent of respondents want the income tax to decline as scheduled. The number rises along with respondents’ distance from Chicago: 64 percent in suburban Cook County, 67 percent in the collar counties and 71 percent downstate.

* Another question

“Illinois is facing a multi-billion dollar debt and payment backlog. Which of the following options do you think is the best way to fix that problem?”

55 percent said “cut spending,” 11 percent said “more gambling” 7 percent said “raise taxes” and 14 percent said “all of the above.”

Again, no surprise considering how the question was worded.

* Another question

“Finally, if the state cuts spending, which of the following programs do you think should be cut first?”

Just 11 percent said education or public safety should be first. 32 percent said natural resource programs should be the first to cut. Only nine percent said assistance to the poor should be cut. Less than 2 percent said assistance to the elderly should be the first area cut. And 36 percent said “public worker retirement income” ought to be the first to go.

So other than pension income, respondents generally wanted to protect the most high-dollar state costs - education, public safety, assistance to the poor and elderly (think: Medicaid), and want to cut natural resource programs, which don’t amount to a hill of beans.

But there has clearly been a shift against public retirees if their income is number one on the public’s hit list. Beware out there.

Still, it’s kind of a silly way to word a question, but whatever.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - MOON - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    Everybody wants tax cuts so long as the cuts do not have an impact on their favorite programs.

  2. - A. Nonymous - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    Has anyone developed an app that calculates how much a given “cut” will save per year?

    That’s what ought to be in the survey - give people the truth about the massive amounts of cuts needed instead of these right-wing hollow talking point polls.

    Even completely zero-ing out public pensions won’t get you nearly enough.

    And high up on the Reboot survey results were cuts to natural resources programs? DNR, etc have already been cut to the marrow. What else is there to cut except literally selling off the state parks and eliminating all natural resource programs in the Prairie State.

    Not even Rauner’s fuzzy math got to $1.8 billion - not even close.

    If voters want cuts then let’s be honest about it.

  3. - lovecraft - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    Not surprising to me. Public employees have been demonized for years now. And how many stories have been published lambasting those solid gold pensions that state retirees are earning? I hope the Supremes rule on the side of retirees since the public and our gutless leaders won’t.

  4. - forwhatitsworth - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    It looks like the constant propaganda bombardment by the media, especially the Tribbies and their like, blaming all of Illinois’ economic woes on those outrageous pensions, is starting to sink in to the uneducated public.

  5. - Mason born - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    Am i incorrect in thinking IDNR generates a majority of it’s budget through liscense and usage fees?

  6. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    “Beware out there.”

    Thanks, Rich.

    I’m sorry, but when the super-wealthy are cleaning everyone’s clocks in income gains, and after pension reform already was enacted three times (I generally support personally taking cuts, given our dire finances), there’s no way in Hades I’m going to accept bearing any more of the political brunt of the problem.

    The Supremes (SCOTUS, not Diana Ross’ band) may make all public unions right to work this month. That would be a big blow, especially in that Super PAC’s exist, in which super-wealthy conservatives can put hundreds of millions of dollars to attack and weaken people like me.

    There’s obviously not much I can do about it other than organize and voice my opinions. I realize my voice alone is pretty darn feeble, but together with thousands if not millions of others I can strive for favorable laws.

  7. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    – The number rises along with respondents’ distance from Chicago: 64 percent in suburban Cook County, 67 percent in the collar counties and 71 percent downstate.–

    It’s always surprising to me how seemingly unaware Downstate residents are about how disproportionally more dependent they are on state spending than Chicago or the suburbs.

    Careful what you wish for, you might get it.

  8. - Keyser Soze - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    Public employees need a makeover with a smiley face. They aren’t doing very well in opinion polls. Don’t they have a union?

  9. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    I think we went over that not long ago.
    The difference isn’t as disproportionate as we’ve been told, according to what we discovered.

    My old high school gets about $7000 per pupil from the state, and there is about a thousand students. That covers an entire downstate county’s state funding. And how many Cook County schools?

    I used to subscribe to what you say, but I’m giving more credibility to the complainers after what we found out. What was that - a month or two ago?

  10. - A guy... - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    If I were advising Public Employees and their unions, I’d be suggesting that they “purge” the abusers from within their ranks to demonstrate that they are truly “exceptions to the rule”. People are incensed by gold plated pensions because they see them being reported along with the regular abuses that are labeled “unfortunately legal”.

    It’s time to “out” these abusers who take advantage of loopholes in the system and give a bad name to all of the employees who don’t get multiple benefits and double/triple/quadruple dip. Senator Proxmire of WI used to have the “Golden Fleece” award to identify wasteful government spending. It put attention on outlandish ‘earmarks’ and pork barrel spending. Discipline your own hogs and you’ll win more sympathy from people who are painting with too broad of a brush. Otherwise you are human shields for the abusers.

  11. - Stuff happens - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    Not all public employees are unionized. It’s a common misconception.

  12. - Federalist - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    The state continues to expand the Medicaid program. It has also enacted some $300 million for child services. Probably other areas of which I am unaware.

    But if the tax increase does not stay on the books and there is a dramatic state budget cut you can be certain that any cuts will be blamed on pensions. The fact that they were unfounded for over 40 years and existing and new programs increased means nothing to the public or many of the politicians.

    Of course, that is the reason the politicians voted for legislation that went after not just new employees but also existing workers and even those already retired. Throw it to the courts and see what happens.

    If Quinn et. al. win they win. If they don’t, at least not entirely, just blame it on state employee pensions. Will this ruse work? Of course, it will.

  13. - Chris - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    “If I were advising Public Employees and their unions, I’d be suggesting that they “purge” the abusers from within their ranks to demonstrate that they are truly “exceptions to the rule”. People are incensed by gold plated pensions because they see them being reported along with the regular abuses that are labeled “unfortunately legal”.”

    THIS. It’s stoopid simple, and I’ve been saying it for a decade, BUT too many of the ‘abusers’ are in, or very tight with, the union leadership, and the leadership is the only ones who can make the deal to purge the abusers/eliminate the abuse.

  14. - DuPage - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    @A.Nonomus10:54=Even completely zero-ing out public pensions won’t get you nearly enough.=

    Actually, cutting pensions does not save as much as it looks like at first, because most of the pensions are spent locally in Illinois. The pension cuts result in less economic activity, less employment, less revenue in state taxes. Also, it looks like the Illinois SC will throw out SB1 as unconstitutional.
    They better look at ways other then pensions to balance the budget.

  15. - Obama's Puppy - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    Real shocking result from a poll with loaded questions and a propoganda machine that buys ink by the barrel (chi trib) blaming the states fiscal condition on people who were foolish enough to go into public service in this state.

  16. - A guy... - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    Here’s a start: Tom Sheahan’s little adventure in Oak Brook:

  17. - Just Trying to Survive - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:26 pm:

    –foolish enough to go into public service in this state—

    Got that right. So sorry I helped others for 30 some years only to have them kick me in the face for it when I can’t find other employment at my age. Made sure my kids didn’t consider for one single second any kind of service to others. Have to play the only game in town, I guess. Fill your own pockets….others be damned.

  18. - Norseman - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    Rich, it looks like you need to change the header to “Polling the Obvious Leads to Extolling the Stupid.” I wasn’t going to comment on this “duh” poll, but I couldn’t help but laugh at the suggestion to public employees and unions to “purge” the abusers. Wow, I didn’t know we all had this power to purge folks. Trust me, I had a list of folks who I felt were abusers and losers but short of doing something that would have landed me in jail there wasn’t a thing I could do. Then there is one’s definition of abuse. My definition of abuse, someone else’s definition of abuse and what the law says may differ significantly. Fortunately, the law is what we must go by.

    Talk is cheap, implementation requires the resources and legal authority to take action - assuming there is a rational and beneficial reason to do so.

  19. - Just Trying to Survive - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    ==pension cuts result in less economic activity==

    Got that right too. In anticipation of a possible slash to our earned deferred benefits, we have begun purging anything unnecessary or found much cheaper ways to do things we’ve done in the past/cashing in on anything offered free or reduced. We’ll make sure that everyone gets less if we get less.

  20. - ejhickey - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    why aren’t we talking about taxing retirement income?

  21. - DuPage - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    ejhickey@1:51=why aren’t we talking about taxing retirement income?=
    Adding a tax onto retirement income is a back door pension cut for all retirees, public and private. Retirees are most able to move out of state. If a retiree moves out of state, Illinois would lose both the tax and pension money being spent in Illinois.

  22. - cover - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    How did “natural resources” rate its own entry on that list? An honest question would have focused only on high-dollar expenses.

    Of course, the result came back that few respondents favor either cuts or the level of taxation needed to support current spending. I’m almost surprised the question didn’t list “magic beans” as an option.

  23. - Just Trying to Survive - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    The only people who could possibly suggest taxing retirement income must be young, active earners who are no where near retirement. I’m not exactly sure what folks think retirees have but when you have medications to fill, health issues, and no way to really improve your income because no one will hire you at your age, it is actually a very discriminatory, cruel proposal to tax old sick people versus young, active people in the peak of their careers…. unless you’re talking about the 1%-ers and their retirement income. That would be a different story. I read the other day that the average CEO pensioner draws 239 times the average pension of others. Now, that tax might amount to something of value. I think if you want to get money from a tax on someone, you have to go where the money is :)

  24. - A guy... - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    OK Norseman, just go with the alternative. It’s working really well. You gotta list? Send it to someone anonymously who can investigate it and has the authority to do something about it. We’ve been purging double/triple/multi dippers in the media the last couple of years. Catching them too late affects everyone. Add this comment to my other stupid observation.

  25. - anon - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 4:24 pm:

    @Just trying to Survive. If my choice is between everyone in the State having a 5% tax on retirement income or the theft of 30 to 40 percent of my government employee pension, I’m voting for tax retirement. If you think a 5% cut is harsh, try living on what a State or City worker will have left if the courts don’t strike this down.

  26. - sal-says - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 4:36 pm:

    == But there has clearly been a shift against public retirees if their income is number one on the public’s hit list. Beware out there. ==

    “Beware out there.”
    Surprising? Not . One . Bit.

    . Since about 2010, politicians, Dems & Repubs have been attacking IL retirees and workers regarding pensions. Now Runner Rauner is taking up the cause.
    . Politicians have blamed unions & workers for ‘allowing’ the pension ‘holidays’, with media falling right in line.
    . Since about 2010, media of all sorts have jumped on the band wagon, reporting, commentary, & editorials decrying the ‘excessive’ and ‘lavish’ pensions.
    . Media has constantly focused on the tiny number of double dippers and pension cheats.
    . I recall one, maybe two articles/commentaries that mentioned that taxpayers already RECEIVED the benefits from the pension ‘holidays’ because the pension funding was spent on other popular programs and kept taxes lower.

    So, ‘Surprising’? Not . One . Bit.

    IL teachers, public workers and retirees have been concerned and worried about this since day one of the pension ‘battles’.

  27. - Anon - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 5:37 pm:

    Why didn’t the poll include a surtax on annual incomes over one million?

  28. - Just Trying to Survive - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 7:23 pm:


    A tax on retirement income would be preferable to the loss of income. I could swallow a tax on my pension as long as all retirement in any/every form for everyone in this state was also taxed. Just try to run that past anyone collecting Social Security and see how far you’ll get with that idea. (as if Social Security was ever supposed to be the sole income as pensions were)

  29. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 20, 14 @ 12:11 am:

    Michelle from Reboot on “Chicago Tonight” all-serious-like about the this groundbreaking poll.


    Stick it to the pensions of workers for services already rendered.

    And DNR. Cut DNR. That’s fat city, baby.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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