*** UPDATE *** “Premature” does not mean it won’t happen, by any stretch of the imagination…
Gov. Pat Quinn said today that talk of a huge state tax increase in next month’s budget proposal is “premature,” and he reminded local officials and interest groups lobbying for more money that times are tight. […]
“It’s premature to talk about that now,” Quinn said as he entered the Capitol through its main North entrance, a marked departure from Blagojevich’s habit of using a basement utility tunnel. “But when we have the plan, we’ll lay out in full detail what the needs are and how to pay for it.”
[ *** End of Update *** ]
* As I told subscribers this morning, Gov. Quinn isn’t at all enthused with increasing the motor fuel tax to pay for the capital bill…
While the governors meeting focused in large part on building the nation’s infrastructure, Illinois hasn’t approved a major public works program in a decade. Part of the problem was Blagojevich’s strained relationship with legislators, but funding remained a major stumbling block. Now, lawmakers there are floating the idea of using a gas tax to pay for it.
But after talking with fellow governors about how to pay for infrastructure improvements, Quinn said a gas tax hike sounds “counterproductive.”
“If we want to wean ourselves from a petroleum-based economy, then we can’t be using that particular source of funding to invest in the things we need to do to become energy-efficient,” he said.
The governor, who plans to run for re-election in 2010, said he’s “never been excited” about the gas tax because it is an excise tax that isn’t based on a customer’s ability to pay. But the idea of the gas tax as a user tax, to pay for infrastructure doesn’t make sense, because infrastructure is more than just roads, he said.
Quinn suggested that infrastructure plans should include non-transportation items — such as laying fiber optic lines along highways — to promote telemedicine, online education and Internet commerce.
The Senate Dems are looking at a 16-23 cents per gallon increase in the tax. The House Dems are mulling an 8 cents per gallon hike. But Quinn doesn’t appear to love either idea.
To raise a billion dollars for capital, he’d need about a third of a percentage point income tax increase. But that’s without all the exemptions he wants to put into place for lower income taxpayers. Some downstaters are looking at the income tax for capital, but the income tax will probably also have to be raised to close the budget deficit.
* Govs’ Q & A: Avoiding deficits post stimulus
* Illinois to Get First Chunk of Stimulus Money. But they’re unclear on how much it will be, and what it can be used for.
* Reform committee wraps up second hearing
* Illinois officials call for letting public see secret investigations of corruption
* Ill. government inspectors want more transparency
* State salary data ought to be online
* Green Party leaders in Illinois slam Senate President John Cullerton’s comments opposing campaign finance reform