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Cross turns thumbs down on Rauner service tax

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014

* Eric Timmons

Republican candidate for treasurer Tom Cross says he opposes Bruce Rauner’s plan to tax 32 different services.

Mr. Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, released a plan last week to freeze property taxes and gradually lower the state’s income tax rate. He also proposes new taxes on attorneys’ fees, warehousing and storage, advertising sales, golf club memberships, debt collection, security guards and residential sewer and refuse.

“Sometimes Republicans disagree,” Rep. Cross said of his opposition to the Rauner tax plan. “I don’t support any of the service taxes.”

The former Illinois House minority leader, Rep. Cross said he wanted it on record that he supports “everything else” in Mr. Rauner’s plan for the state.

Cross’ opponent Michael Frerichs was a co-sponsor of the service tax bill that Quinn supported. So, this move is no surprise.

* But it most certainly is the easy way out

“We have been a state that has just seen people spend money that we don’t have,” [Cross] said. “And we need to learn to live within our means. We’ve got $35 billion. That’s more money than we’ve ever had as a state. And there’s this continuous discussion and thirst for more money and more money and more money. I think the service tax is a mistake.”

He also said this

“I think it’s important for people to articulate what they’re going to do. Sometimes we say, as Republicans we say, ‘The Democrats have done such a bad job, you’re going to vote for us. We’re not Democrats.’

“Now, I think they have done a bad job, but I think we also have to say what we’re going to do.”

OK, well, Tom, let’s hear how you’d solve the problem without new revenues.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Toure's Latte - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 9:35 am:

    Let’s hear how he’d run the Governor’s office from the Treasurer’s office? One office at a time Tommy.

  2. - foster brooks - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 9:43 am:

    It would devastate Rep. Cross if they taxed golf club memberships

  3. - BDuty6 - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 9:44 am:

    “I think it’s important for people to articulate what they’re going to do. Sometimes we say, as Republicans we say, ‘The Democrats have done such a bad job, you’re going to vote for us. We’re not Democrats.’

    That’s funny Tom, as that quote sums up your ENTIRE tenure as House GOP Leader. You never came out of the box with any new ideas. All you did was throw bombs at the Dems about how bad their ideas were.

    Except that time you teamed up with Rod Blagojevich. That was original…

  4. - Angry Republican - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 9:48 am:

    The Cross-Frerichs race is no different than Rauner-Quinn; it’s a pity they both can’t lose.

  5. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Yawn. I love how Cross pretends like he was just born as a politician today and can just ignore the last 20 years. Spare us Tom.

  6. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 10:06 am:

    ==let’s hear how you’d solve the problem without new revenues.==

    I’d love to see that question asked time and time again of those who oppose any new revenue or an extension of the current tax rates. I’ve yet to hear a valid answer to that question.

  7. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    Smart move by Cross to break with Rauner.

    Gotta wonder what is taking the rest of the GOP so long.

    BTW, if Rauner gets his way, does this mean Cook County can expand it sales tax to services, and Chicago too?

    Maybe this is the alternative to funding Chicago pensions that Rauner has in mind.

    An 8 percent tax on Hill & Knowlton and Leo Burnett.

  8. - Soccertease - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    Has anyone quantified how much revenue the service tax would generate? We already have a service occupation tax that servicemen pay the tax on the cost of tangible property included in the service. So can a new service tax really solve the state’s fiscal mess?

  9. - Steve Reick - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    Taxing consumption instead of production isn’t a bad idea, but Rauner’s service tax and any other tax proposal must be a substitute for, and not a supplement to current revenue measures.

    Rich noted in his weekend article that $16 billion of the state’s budget was for “non-mandated” expenditures, of which education accounted for half. There are bills on the table to change the way education is paid for, the pension system needs to be completely reformed,and we don’t know how many people will be thrown onto the Medicaid rolls if yesterday’s Halbig decision is ultimately affirmed. The taxpayers of this state have borne enough, it’s time for the Legislature to do its job.

  10. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 10:09 am:

    If Rauner wins, Cross loses an election cycle to climb up the political ladder in Illinois. He needs his supporters to do that, so Cross has decided to keep his political base happy and position himself if Rauner loses.

    It should be no surprise that with Cross as a leader over the past few terms in office, the GOP is about as successful electorally as the old Whigs. This move only confirms that with Cross around, the GOP will remain a minority in Illinois.

    The guys who got paid to win elections but kept losing them got schooled by the guys who paid for those elections in 2014. The GOP money guys got tired of wasting their money on losers every four years and put up one of their own to win this time.

    Cross is indeed showing that ILGOP has a split within itself - but it isn’t about state economics. It is about how guys like Cross and Dillard didn’t appreciate the lessons they were taught during the 2014 GOP primary.

    When Rauner said he wanted to shake up Springfield, the first group he shook up was the Old White Boy Network running ILGOP and now these losers are not very supportive of him, even if it looks like Rauner can win in November.

    Cross has made it clear that this election is all about him and his political future.

  11. - Barney - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    Rauner has a big plan and the service tax is a minor component ($600m out of a $35b budget) and by the time all the special interests carve out their exemptions, the take will probably be closer to $200m. Does anyone really think ITLA will allow a tax on attorneys? At least Cross didn’t pull a Frerichs and backtrack and say he now supports the service tax. I give him points for that.

  12. - A guy... - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 10:18 am:

    I guess he had to say something because he was probably asked. Rauner has helped Cross raise money. I doubt this was done without notice or tacit permission. In the grand scheme…not news.

  13. - Jerome Horwitz - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    When has the cost of doing any business, including government work, ever gone down? So, if costs are going to continue to increase every year, where will the revenue come from to support a budget with rising costs?

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    ===“Now, I think they have done a bad job, but I think we also have to say what we’re going to do.”===

    “Walked right into that one.”

    To the Post,

    If Cross makes this about he versus the Shrinking Violet, he has a better shot at winning than being the Rauner “Mini Me”.

    Anything to keep the spotlight on the Dopiness of Frerichs and the idea that Cross is not Frerichs is a better day than comparing or contrasting Cross and Rauner.

  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    The old “Waste Fraud Abuse ” solution is rightfully discounted primarily because it is usually spouted as THE solution, the quick fix, the popular chant. But I do believe this state is paltry in its allocation of personnel to truly restore confidence and integrity to many programs. If a true effort was ignited on the major fronts (Medicaid, Child Support, Revenue,, and the increased expenditure reduced W.F A, by even 10%”
    I submit that would be one step toward improving our state. But it never happens consistently…an effort too effective will harm the interests of some who benefit from the shabby status quo.

  16. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    Well Billboards bails on Flip Rauner’s new sales tax….guess that means Flip will keep his check book in the pocket. Who does Billboards turn to for campaign cash or does he think earner media on Capt Fax Blog will get the job done?

  17. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    ===Cross has made it clear that this election is all about him and his political future.===


    I actually thought Cross wanted this election to be about the Callis-Davis race, myself.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    ===Cross is indeed showing that ILGOP has a split within itself - but it isn’t about state economics. It is about how guys like Cross and Dillard didn’t appreciate the lessons they were taught during the 2014 GOP primary.===

    It was actually about hijacking a party ripe to be hijacked. The vast financial white-wash by Rauner blowing the caps and sucking the money out of the Primary was a lesson that if you don’t keep My Party free from vultures who can overpower it, than you get a “Raunerite” winning the GOP Primary.

  19. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    Gee, that Treasurer’s job is tough. You’re international men of finance one day, propping up major corporations and sovereign nations, the next you’re setting state tax and spending priorities.

  20. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Barney -

    There are 35,000 attorneys in Illinois.

    About 1,100 are attorneys.

    What you really ought to be asking is whether Winston & Strawn, Sidley Austin, Mayer Brown…and all the other law firms are going to go along.

  21. - qcexaminer - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    With all the constitutional scholars here at CapFAx, I’m surprised no one seized on the Cross claim in the Timmons link that if elected he would “not hesitate to sue the General Assembly if lawmakers fail to pass a [constitutionally required] balanced budget.”

    I assume this would have happened sooner except for the fact that taxpayers don’t have the political clout and lobbyists that public unions do. lol

  22. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    qcexaminer, we’ve discussed that issue before. Not new at all.

  23. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    =Gotta wonder what is taking the rest of the GOP so long.=

    It is happening, quietly.

  24. - Anon - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    Assuming Rauner wins and his service tax comes up next year in the 99th General Assembly, Cross won’t have a vote in the matter. So his opposition won’t have much impact. It’s Durkin’s position on service taxes that will matter.

  25. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    C’mon, Tom. You used to be better than that. Remember stem-cell, and how we supported you even though it was party heresy? You can be better than that again. Man up.It’s there in you, do it.

  26. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:07 pm:


    Stem cell was party heresy because your party caters to some real goofballs.

    Case in point: marriage equality.

    Not one single GOP vote for service tax when Democrats proposed it, but now that Rauner is sponsoring it all the Republicans are supposed to flip?

    Isn’t that what you all call a Frerichs?


    Just kidding you, Schnorf.

    Don’t get too upset. Cross is not going to be voting for a tax increase, because if Quinn wins then Cross and every Republican will vote No in veto, and if Rauner wins there won’t be a vote in veto.

  27. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:34 pm:

    Dog, my point is there are issues in the past (and today,-see gay issues) when Tom has stood against the tide and done what was right, and people have stood with him. And he can do it again: he’s no longer responsible for trying to keep a caucus together, or even a party. The adults (Ds, Rs, and Is) in the state know that govt can’t function without revenue and one of our problems is that our sales tax system has gotten totally out of touch with our economy.

  28. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:51 pm:

    …not a good sign when a Major Pol from one’s own PARTY shoots down what’s supposed to be a major PLANK in one’s Campaign–and for many of the sound reasons already brought out as to why it WON’T work, and would be not only regressive for the Average Citizen (sure, let’s tax the GARBAGEMan in front of my House BIG-time, Bruce, or i guess they’re just won’t be any PICK-up this Week, right!) but altogether INadequate in addressing Illinois’ fiscal realities…!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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