* Way to go, Rick Pearson…
Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner today opened the door to a potential income-tax hike, saying the 3.75 percent personal rate he would inherit if he wins this fall would be subject to negotiations with a General Assembly that’s expected to remain in Democratic hands.
Rauner, elaborating on the tax plan he unveiled last week, said voters shouldn’t get hung up on short-term budget issues and tax rates. Instead, he said, the overall goal is to make structural changes in state government that would lead to a rollback of the income tax to 3 percent by the end of his first term in office.
In releasing his proposal, Rauner called for a four-year phase out of the 2011 state income tax increase approved by Democrats and signed into law by his general election challenger, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. That increase, which bumped the personal rate from 3 percent to 5 percent, is scheduled to roll back to 3.75 percent on Jan. 1, before the next governor is inaugurated.
“Well, I think we’ll work out the specific rate with the General Assembly like we’re going to work out the entire budget with the General Assembly. My personal goal, (the) 3.75 (personal rate) I think is good, but we need to work out the overall plan and how we transition,” Rauner said during a campaign event at a River North restaurant.
“What we need to do is make major structural change over time so we become a growth state again. That’s the critical thing. And here’s what my commitment is. We need to roll the (personal) income tax rate back from 5 percent back to 3 percent where it started within a four-year period and I think 3.75 is a good place to step to next but we’ll work out those details with the General Assembly,” he said. [Emphasis added]
It’s just not possible to immediately get a brand new service tax up and running. No way could businesses comply right away. So you can’t use money from the service tax to plug the second half of this fiscal year’s budget. He’s gotta raise that rate from 3.75 percent. And he all but admitted he’d have to start at five. And that means a post-inaugural vote. And a bipartisan vote at that.
That’ll be fun to watch.