* As I told subscribers this morning, Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget director went off script with Bloomberg yesterday, telling the news service that Illinois will raise its income tax in January to plug its budget hole…
Lawmakers will likely increase the personal tax to 5 percent from 3 percent, generating $6 billion of new revenue, the budget director, David Vaught, said in an interview. The legislature failed to address the deficit this year because of the pending November election, he said.
“We’re going to pass a tax increase in January,” Vaught said. “We expect it is going to be substantial.”
That’ll be a great campaign ad, I’m sure.
Congressman Mark Kirk’s campaign has already responded via press release…
Kirk Opposes Quinn-Giannoulias Plan to Raise State Income Tax
Northbrook, Ill. – One day after the governor’s budget director said state lawmakers will likely increase the state’s personal income tax by 66 percent in January, Congressman Mark Kirk today reaffirmed his opposition to Governor Pat Quinn and State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias’ plan to raise the state income tax.
“With unemployment in Illinois above the national average, we should not make Illinois even less competitive by raising the state income tax,” Congressman Kirk said. “Alexi Giannoulias’ plan to increase state and federal income taxes would put our economic recovery at risk. I oppose tax increases in Washington and I urge state lawmakers to oppose the Quinn-Giannoulias tax increase in Springfield.”
Yesterday, David Vaught, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, told Bloomberg, “We’re going to pass a tax increase in January. We expect it is going to be substantial.”
Earlier this year, Alexi Giannoulias called for a state income tax increase. He also said he would allow federal tax relief to expire.
* Meanwhile, there’s a new rationale for the furlough program…
Gov. Pat Quinn based his recent order requiring 2,700 non-union state workers to take 24 unpaid days off — a move expected to save $18 million this fiscal year — on fears that Congress won’t extend a federal boost in Medicaid payments beyond December.
If the enhanced Medicaid payments are allowed to expire, however, the resulting loss of $750 million in federal funding would have a much broader effect on the state, according to advocates for hospitals, doctors and people with developmental disabilities.
Hospitals might have to lay off employees and pay vendors late, Medicaid patients would have a harder time finding doctors, and programs for the developmentally disabled would face further cutbacks, they said.
That’s a swell cover story, but it would be far more believable if Quinn wasn’t under fire at the time for handing out bigtime pay raises to his staff.
* And we’ve got yet another victim of the budget crisis…
Tourism has been on the upswing in Southern Illinois in recent years. But efforts to promote the region hit a snag on Tuesday. The Southern Illinois Tourism Development Office was forced to lay-off its executive director because of state funding shortages.
The office worked with cities and counties to promote tourism across 22 counties in Southern Illinois. Now, some of those counties are left with no means to market themselves.
There’s a lot to see in Southern Illinois and tourism officials say the average family of four will spend about $500 a day to hit the hot spots.
“It really turns into an economic driver for the Southern Illinois region- it really does.”
But shortfalls in state funding forced the Southern Illinois Tourism Development Office to lay off executive director, Russell Ward. He’s the office’s last employee.
* Is Quinn’s veto of U-46 funding bill a political move?: Gov. Pat Quinn’s last-minute veto of school funding legislation Tuesday has Elgin Area School District U-46 officials seething.
* State budget hampers local job development, Chamber officials say
* Bernard Schoenburg: Quinn forgetting some ‘paycheck-to-paycheck’ folks: While I may have missed it, I haven’t heard Quinn use the same phrase about some people whose livelihood he is directly affecting now — nonunion state workers.
* Republican: Furloughs bad idea
* Union Bridles at Youth Prisons Merger
* Southern Ill. tourism office closes doors
* Our View: Local carp plant worth a look for state assistance