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Vaught: Income tax could rise 67 percent in January

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010

* 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.

* Related…

* 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

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - bored now - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:36 am:

    while mark kirk is mining the george w. bush playbook, he continues to demonstrate that he’s a lightweight. you’d think kirk was running for governor, not u.s. senator. i understand that he’s not that bright, but come on! exactly what does kirk think the u.s. senate can do about whether or not illinois raises income taxes? members of congress are actually debating about whether to renew bush’s tax cuts to the wealthy — an extension that would take a terrible toll on the federal deficit and our national debt — but here’s mark kirk talking about something he’ll never have control of. what an idiot…

  2. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:39 am:

    Mind blowing doesn’t begin to cover it for self-inflicted wounds like this Vaught quote. Apparently it’s not just Pat who needs to go away and come back November 3rd. WOW.

  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:40 am:

    Well, at least you can’t accuse Vaught of using his official position to further the Quinn campaign, LOL.

    Brady needs to edit his spots to replace the 33% with 66%.

  4. - OneMan - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:50 am:

    bored now..

    Yes because Alexi and Democrats in general never comment on things their offices or the offices they are running for directly influence…

  5. - Reformer - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:52 am:

    Vaught apparently assumes his boss will win the election. If Brady wins, I doubt the Democrats would bail him out with a big tax hike, since he claims he can balance the budget by cutting taxes.

  6. - Ray del Camino - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:55 am:

    Republicans oppose tax hikes *and* furloughs; won’t propose specific cuts; will balance the budget with fairy dust.

  7. - Davey Boy Smithe - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:55 am:

    bored now, me thinks it’s called campaigning for votes. I think Kirk or Alexi are allowed to talk about state issues to try to get votes in a Federal race.

  8. - Sick of it! - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:55 am:

    Lucky the Guv’s staff got those 11% average raises to cover the 9% lost to furloughs and the 2% if the tax hike goes through! That’s sone serious shared sacrifice there!

  9. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:58 am:

    This is a nightmare. Quinn has to denounce this immediately.

    It is hilarious for Kirk to include this into the Senate race. Did Giannoulais do more than just mention support in raising Illinois taxes before winning the nomination? Did he double-down on that? Kirk’s attack is pretty lame unless Giannoulais hasn’t recently reaffirmed his commitment to raising taxes since February.

    Vaught so blew this. It is simply impossible for Brady to ignore this. Vaught said it. It will be up to Quinn to disown him to tamp this disaster down.

    Talk about giving your opponent an extra large baseball bat to beat over your head for the next 90 days until the Election. Wow. Dumb!

    And kudos to Bloomberg for getting this quote! What a game changer!

  10. - Retired State Employee - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:03 am:

    Where is the other $732 Million of cuts coming from to make up this difference. Hopefully, most people are cleaver enough to realize that unless this is part of a package, the furloughs are insignificant in the scope of this financial meltdown.

  11. - Screwball - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:07 am:


    Option 1: resign late tomorrow afternoon.

    Option 2: resign the day they announce the Blagojevich verdict.

    Option 3: fire him live on the 5pm news.

  12. - Montrose - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:07 am:

    *Quinn has to denounce this immediately.*

    Quinn has been pushing a tax increase since he took office. Why would he suddenly denounce the one thing he has been consistent on? Vaught needs to be sat down and given lessons on how to talk to the media, but if Quinn denounces it, all he will get from folks is that he is flip-flopping again.

    I appreciate the honesty about what is needed to deal with the budget crisis. I would be very disappointed in Quinn if he suddenly claims we do not need - and he will not back - a tax hike.

  13. - 13 - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:09 am:

    Someone is finally honest about what needs to be done about fixing the budget hole and he gets jumped on by both sides. This is exactly what is so sickening about our “leadership” these days. Honest Abe wouldn’t stand a chance today.

  14. - cassandra - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:11 am:

    Well, at least Vaught is honest. Maybe the Democrats are sufficiently confident (probably, correctly, alas) about a Democratic win in November that they figure it’s better to start talking about a big income tax increase now so it won’t be a shock. $6 billion dollars is a lot of money in perpetuity. In 10 years that’s an extra $60 billion. I wonder how much of it will be falling off on the way to its purported destination via Democratic patronage jobs (a lot of them, potentially), rich no-bid contracts for the connected and above-market raises for unionized state employees when the AFSCME contract is renegotiated in 2012. We won’t be able to say Vaught didn’t warn us. I wonder if he’d be so forthcoming if Kirk Dillard were the candidate, though.

    The union is right about the DCFS-youth prisons merger although I dont agree with their reasons.
    These are two troubled agencies. DCFS has a very poor record of providing direct institutional care (I don’t think they are currently directly managing any institutions, only through contracts) and its child protection efforts frequently come up short at least partly because of inadequate and untimely service provision. Its recidivism rate was so high that the feds sanctioned DCFS a couple of years ago. We’ve all heard about the problems at Juvenile Justice which now appear to include the appointment of a new director with no corrections experience. Both bureaucracies are badly in need of new ideas and much improved management; putting them together will not result in either–only more chaos. But hey, the kids aren’t really in a position to tell us much about it. So the Dems get to look like they are doing something.

  15. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:19 am:

    Honest Abe wouldn’t stand a chance today.
    He won one race in Illinois, so he never had much of a chance back then either.

  16. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:20 am:

    ===He won one race in Illinois,===

    He was the House Minority Leader, so he won more than one race here.

  17. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:33 am:

    Timing is always everything. Had this happened back in March, during a grueling session in the midst of a terrible budget shortfall, the context would have made sense. However, after Vaught received a hefty raise, approved raises for his own staff, possibly advocated for the increased furlough days and seemingly continues to ramp up the “feel the pain” rhetoric, his comments are incredibly dense and stupid. Quinn has a real problem with some of his top appointees. Brady will certainly pounce on this - hopefully today.

  18. - whats the message - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:36 am:

    someone in the quinn adminstration should keep vaught on a tight short leash

  19. - ToLate - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:40 am:

    *Quinn has to denounce this immediately.*

    Cap Fax “is” in the political world.

  20. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:44 am:

    Vaught performs a perfect Kinsley Gaffe, judges score it a 10:

  21. - Independent Minded Dem - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:45 am:

    Quinn will take a beating for this, he now wants 67% instead of 33%? What the heck is going on???? Vaught is doing his job, but seriously, does Quinn think he can win on a platform of “I am solely going to raise your taxes?” I can not wait to see if Speaker Madigan responds to this dousy.

  22. - SangamoGoP - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:45 am:

    Nobody should be patting Vaught on the back for being honest or telling it like it is. If this administration truly believes that the only way out of this mess is with a 67% tax increase, they’ve had plenty of time to get it passed through the General Assembly. Rather, Vaught should be applauded for telling the truth about the fact that Quinn lacks the backbone and political muscle to get anything done before November 2. But, we already knew that…

  23. - fedup dem - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 11:09 am:

    Vaught was being honest about what is needed to insure that Illinois state governemtn remains solvent (solvent being a word that was once dear to Republicans, before than drank the kool-aid of voodoo economics and tax cuts that never balance budgets as promised some thre decades ago). Perhaps Sen. Brady still believes that the Budget Fairy will leave him $13 billion under his pillow on Inauguration Night to balance the state’s budget!

  24. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 11:25 am:

    fedup dem,

    “… tax cuts that never balance budgets…”

    That is a 100% accurate statement because politicians cannot spend within their means. This is true for politicians on both left and right. Until we get back to the core missions of government, we will never again see a balanced budget.

    However, we have two recent examples where fiscal restraint can result in balanced budgets, Bob McDonnell in VA, and Chris Christie in NJ. Full disclosure: Christie has yet to address the pension shortfall he inherited from the mismanagement of his Democrat predecessor and legislature, but he promised to introduce a plan in September, and given his track record of keeping promises, his solution will be coming soon and may provide guidance for Illinois.

  25. - Responsa - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 11:35 am:

    ==Quinn will take a beating for this, he now wants 67% instead of 33%? What the heck is going on???? Vaught is doing his job, but seriously, does Quinn think he can win on a platform of “I am solely going to raise your taxes?”==

    Many serious people have been saying for months that a large tax increase is the only answer to Illinois’ problems. If that is true and if that is Quinn’s platform and what he plans to do if he is actually elected, then it is up to him to be honest about it and perhaps use his stellar communications skills to sell it during the campaign. He will probably pick up some votes and probably lose some votes over it but the public deserves to know what his plans are. Does anyone think for the sake of winning an election it is justified for him to lay low in denial and then “spring” it on the states’ citizens if he is elected? Have we not seen enough of this kind of subterfuge in past elections? Unless he is making it up, which I doubt, Vaught should be commended for his openness–not vilified for telling it like it is.

  26. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 11:39 am:

    So the Illinois tax increase will hit after November, and it will be much harsher than advertised, according to the budget insider.

    And Alexi wants the “Bush” Federal tax cuts to expire.

    Aren’t we lucky in Illinois? We’re going to get hit from both sides. But don’t worry, it won’t affect the “middle class” only the “rich.” LOL!

    Double whammy! In an economic environment where most are scrapping to get by these clueless types want to lay down the hammer even harder.

    Poor Illinois taxpayers better wake up pretty fast before they vote this November.

  27. - The Mighty Swan - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 11:42 am:

    Vanilla Man - I agree this is a nightmare. Just when Pat was taking his own foot out of his mouth a member his team says something that may be needed but is political suicide.

    Being honest and forthcoming gets you a loss on election day.
    Nice guys always finish last in politics, which is too bad for Polite Pat.

  28. - Louis Howe - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 12:00 pm:

    Quinn is quickly moving from clueless to hopeless territory with the latest Vaught tax increase quote. “What are they thinking?” Democrats are going to have to start thinking long term and put the Alfonse and Gaston, Quinn and Vaught team off the bus this November.

  29. - Old Shepherd - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 12:12 pm:

    Lincoln only won one race in Illinois? I think someone needs to visit the Presidential Library and Museum.

  30. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 12:28 pm:

    So Vaught gets a 20% raise for his assitance to the Gov and the State while the few remianing line managers actually keeping things together aborsb 24 furlough day paycuts and forced time away from being able to manage.

    I wonderif they willl let all the remianing merit comp employees have big raises if they promise to undermine the gov’s campaign as well….

  31. - Festus Hagen - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 12:39 pm:

    Vaught seems to have shown us how Pat Quinn and the Illinois Democrat Party define the word “transparency” within the Illinois Democrat Party. Perhaps the Illinois Democrat Party would have been better off running Vaught for political office rather than Alexi or Quinn? At least Illinois voters would know that they could trust Vaught to be “transparent” and tell them the truth. Barack then would be able to say “Change that we can believe in” without his nose suddenly growing by 10-12 inches.

  32. - Dr Kilovolt - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 12:40 pm:

    Kirk pointed to “State budget hampers local job development” SJ-R article today, but it seems to me that the article makes a compelling case for tax increases. Sure, nobody likes them, but unless we plan to start closing prisons and parks and letting cars pack the snow down this winter instead of trucks plowing it, the state needs some additional revenue to turn this fiscal disaster around.

  33. - Joseph - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 12:43 pm:

    The democratic legislative candidates will be backing away from any coordinated campaign efforts with Quinn now.

    Combined with the Brady Rasmussen poll rebound democratic candidates are going to drop the pretense of cooperation.

    Its every candidate for themselves as they distance themselves from the Quinn/Vaught train wreck.

  34. - SangamoGoP - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 12:55 pm:

    On the Lincoln thing, he won one term to the US House and won a seat in the IL GA which he declined in hopes of being named to the US Senate in 1859. Douglas got that seat. He then, of course, got the presidency a year later. So, technically, he won three times in IL: the US House, the IL House and the presidency.

  35. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 12:58 pm:

    SangamoGoP, Lincoln served four terms in the Illinois House.

  36. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 1:00 pm:

    Dr Kilovolt,

    I firmly believe that if decent-sized, sustainable, real budget cuts are made, Republicans would then go along with a tax increase, especially if there was a sunset provision on the tax.

    Of course, such a “Grand Compromise” would require leadership on both sides of the aisle, and some heavy PR work. Right now, I think voters are fed up with hearing about increased taxes, without any serious accompanying talk about the other side of the ledger. And we have a dearth of leadership. I can dream, though.

  37. - Gregor - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 1:02 pm:

    The tourism thing is another example of why that patronage playground of DCEO needs to be torn down and re-configured from scratch. All they know how to do is award fat checks to PR agencies to run ads in Chicago. They have no idea how to help folks south of I-80 or West of Woodfield. Abandoning the tourism oversight is slashing a tiny up-front cost and losing the chance to leverage a lot of big returns across whole regions. Now, the towns that can afford their own promotion will just fight each other over the scraps, the smaller towns will wither, when they could have had a coordinated regional effort that helped everybody equally, and brought needed revenue to depressed areas.

  38. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 1:07 pm:

    Lincoln only won one race in Illinois?
    That is what Keith Olbermann told me!

  39. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 1:12 pm:


    “They have no idea how to help folks south of I-80 or West of Woodfield.”

    That would be Kentucky or Iowa, right?


  40. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 1:25 pm:

    ==about $500 a day to hit the hot spots==
    That figure seems more accurate for a large city, not southern Illinois. When built, about 90% of whatever people spend will be inside Marion’s STAR bond project…couldn’t Holland pony up the money to keep this position until his project swarms the area with tourists?

  41. - Toast - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 1:55 pm:

    Not even John Filan would make that comment to the press. Madigan is probably wishing Filan were back right about now.

  42. - zatoichi - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 2:03 pm:

    How can this statement possibly be a shock in any conceivable way? Quinn talked about it for months. Just because it is not the #1 news item for the last 6 months does not mean it went away. The state’s financial situation has gotten worse. The issue becomes what gets cut. Got a mental illness and not on Medicaid. Go luck finding help anywhere. Medical problem? How many local docs are willing to accept any state based payment option? Schools? 40 kids a classroom OK? You really think local property taxes will not increase if state support drops? The issue has been debated here many times. What gets cut? Vaught talks an increase or Brady gets a $13B hole. Which rock hurts the least?

  43. - OneMan - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 2:08 pm:

    It’s one thing to think everyone is friends with that kid because he has a pool…

    It’s a different thing entirely to tell the kid that.

  44. - SangamoGoP - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 2:18 pm:

    Rich - So true. Forgot about the first go ’round in the IL House. Thanks!

  45. - Dr Kilovolt - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 3:00 pm:

    It is easy to say the words “decent-sized, sustainable, real budget cuts”, Cincinnatus. What would you cut? I have a pragmatic and business-minded state rep in Mark Walker, and I believe him when he says that the fat and the low hanging fruit is all gone. So, on whom you inflict the pain?

    Or do we look at something radical, like eliminating an entire layer of government, such as the townships?

  46. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 3:02 pm:

    ===such as the townships? ===

    And that saves the state what?

  47. - Rambler - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 3:08 pm:

    That quote by Vaught will be portrayed as the “real” Quinn plan, and with good reason.

    As for the furloughs and pay raises, I wonder about the timing. The media portray the furloughs as a response to the reaction about the pay raises. I’d consider the possibility that Quinn had already planned the furloughs for political reasons, but he was concerned about dissension among his staff. Thus he decided on the pay raises to negate the furloughs for his staff. Now, if you were going to do both of those, would you announce the furloughs first, then raise your staff’s pay? I don’t think so. You’d do them in the order that Quinn did.
    I’d say that the furloughs will be a political plus for Quinn. It’s hard to see him losing many more votes than the 2000 or so people affected. And even they probably won’t switch to Brady. Quinn’s sound bite “I doubled the number of furlough days” will likely win him far more than 2000 votes, even though the furloughs are arguably unfair and the effect on the budget is negligible.

    Ironically, if the furloughs help Quinn to get elected, they will likely prove to be a net plus for the affected workers over the long run. And if the furlough move is essentially political, it can be reviewed after the election and steps taken to reduce its effect.

    By the way, I’ve seen an estimate that the number of affected workers is about 2000, because some of the workers are exempt. The move is expected to save about $18 million. Twenty-four furlough days is about 9% of a year’s salary, and $18 million is 9% of $200 million. That implies that the total salary of the 2000 workers is approximately $200 million, or $100,000 per person on average.

  48. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 3:22 pm:

    Dr. Kilovolt,

    “So, on whom you inflict the pain?”

    We can start at the high speed rail project, and mass transportation and go from there. In all seriousness, there will have to be pain. Union positions in both the government and education will need to be eliminated. A significant reform to pension plans will need to take place. State property should be sold. Programs that can be funded by private concerns need to be defunded. Eliminate state subsidies to just about everything, local governments need to be self-funding. Any “green” initiative better pay for itself in about five years or forget it.

    People will say that these items are off the table because they hurt people. I can foresee enormous pain to EVERYBODY unless we get out from under the crushing debt caused by spending.

  49. - Pat Robertson - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 3:43 pm:

    Rambler — the timing of events says your speculation is wrong. The pay raises go back to 2009, and the Governor’s office issued guidance to agencies on the 12 furlough day program for FY 2011 during the first week of July. The 24-furlough-day plan was a change that came along a few days later, after the governor’s office pay raise news hit the streets. The medicaid excuse is just an afterthought.

    ==And if the furlough move is essentially political, it can be reviewed after the election and steps taken to reduce its effect.==

    Blago cut merit comp pay as soon as he took office, froze their pay, converted 4-year term appointments to at-will whenever possible, and after a couple of years allowed minimal pay raises and bonuses. Quinn came along and immediately froze their pay again (except for his own people, but he didn’t tell anyone about that), then instituted furlough days 6 months later, then doubled them a year after that. Why in the world would anyone think he’s going to change now? By next summer, every state employee who can join a union will be in a union.

  50. - Dr Kilovolt - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 3:55 pm:

    Eliminating the townships is a admittedly poor example re the state budget, Rich, though I haven’t forgotten about the Southtown Star editorial that you pointed to in your 4/26 mid-morning shorts that stated, “Townships tax you to aid the poor. But a SouthtownStar analysis shows that as every other governmental entity is crying broke, many township governments are sitting on a a great big wad of cash. Your cash.”

    The township quip was meant to illustrate this question: is there a radical way to restructure state and local government in Illinois that would increase efficiency and reduce the overall tax burden while not sacrificing services? I’m asking, not saying.

    And if such a reorganization isn’t possible or is politically unpalatable, then specifically where do we make significant cuts that bring the state budget back into whack?

  51. - TwoFeetThick - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 3:55 pm:

    Rambler, while your calculation of merit comp employees averaging 100K/year may be accurate, it fails to take into account that all agency directors fall into this category. Since their salaries are much higher than other merit comp employees, me thinks your analysis is severely skewed and does not accurately portray reality.

  52. - ZC - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 4:08 pm:

    Cincinnatus, one line on your proposal especially struck me:

    >> Eliminate state subsidies to just about everything, local governments need to be self-funding.

    Based on my understanding, that would mean: Chicago - would come out about even since estimates are it about pays for itself; rich Cook County suburbs - golden; everywhere else, especially rural Downstate - screwed.

    Chances of conservative Republicans in Springfield approving such cuts or policies, if they were in power? I would say: close to zero.

    My broader point is conservatives and Republicans always talk a good game about cuts, especially when they are in the minority, but they never seem to materialize when / if they actually take power. At least not in Illinois and in D.C.

  53. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 4:14 pm:

    Dr. Kilovolt,

    “And if such a reorganization isn’t possible or is politically unpalatable, then specifically where do we make significant cuts that bring the state budget back into whack?”

    I have been beat up on this board before on what I will say again now.

    We need a thoughtful discussion on the proper role of government in modern society. This is not the job politicians normally do while in session (which one commenter in the past said as a criticism to my idea). Every year, thousands upon thousands of new laws, rules, regulations, advisories, tons of paper, forms, edicts, announcements, warnings, notes are added to our already bloated bureaucracy.

    Is this necessary? Is this right? Is it proper?

    Where it the boundary between the individual’s rights and the control an individual must give up to live in a modern society. Has our social safety net expanded (because of good intentions and more nefarious reasons) to a size where it is beyond control and is now inhibits society as a whole.

    I was hooted down last time as being childish, but I firmly believe that this issue is at the core of what kind and of what scope government should be. Let’s use an analogy based on a business. Let’s say I am running a business, and I must do everything any single customer I have demands, no matter what the cost. I must pay my employees anything dictated by a third party. I can grow the number of employees without any care about the cost. I must create infrastructure and programs used by small segments (many small segments) no matter whether or not they pass any kind of cost-benefit analysis.

    How long would I stay in business? Is it any wonder that government finances look the way they do?

    We haven’t really had this discussion for many years. We had part of it in 1980, in 1930, 1910, 1860 and at the founding of the nation.

    We need to accept more modest goals for what government can and should do. These are not esoteric concerns, they are at the root of the problem with government. If we do not accept modesty in our aspirations for government, we are on a death spiral that will be worse than the Great Depression.

  54. - Pat Robertson - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 4:19 pm:

    TwoFeetThick — the agency directors don’t take furlough days. One amendment to HB 859 would have required them to do so, but it wasn’t adopted. Go to the Transparency and Accountability Portal, compare their 2009 salaries with their budget salaries and with their 2010 year to date salaries. They were paid their full statutory amounts last year, and they’re being paid the same rate this year. The effects of furlough days do show up for those who are taking them.

  55. - Will - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 4:24 pm:

    If Quinn had raised taxes before the election at least he could be making people happy right now while he hands out money. Now, he gets the controversy of everyone knowing he’s going to raise taxes but he can’t do anything for anybody before election day.
    Mike Madigan is the best thing that happened to the Brady campaign.

  56. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 4:28 pm:

    Cincy, were you born yesterday? There’s been nothing but discussion about the “proper role” blah, blah, blah, since the crust cooled. This is where government, at all levels, has arrived with the consent of the governed.

    It’s no secret; everybody wants “their” services, but they don’t want to pay for anyones.

  57. - Rambler - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 4:29 pm:

    PR — OK if that is the timeline, then I’d concede that the increase in furlough days from 12 to 24 is probably a response to the uproar. I’d still say that it’s a political plus for PQ and if it helps him to win the affected workers will be better off than they would be with Brady.
    TFT — I just calculated the average. Obviously some are higher and some are lower.

  58. - Dr Kilovolt - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 4:29 pm:

    So pretty much you suggest union busting, Cincinnatus. Nice. Perhaps all state workers and teachers should work for minimum wage. If we pay them little enough and put them on Medicaid, then the Feds pick up part of the tab.

    Actually, I agree that future pension obligations ought to be brought into line with the private sector (I get bupkus at my job), but that doesn’t help with existing obligations. A promise is a promise, or do you plan to swindle state retirees out of the pensions they worked for?

    High speed rail - so we should kiss the federal money and stimulative effect of the construction spending goodbye?

    Mass transit - and what do you tell the people who can’t afford cars to get to work, and the businesses whose trucks can’t get around because the roads are all choked with cars driven by people who used to be in trains and buses?

    What programs are there that could be funded by private concerns that aren’t already? Isn’t it the role of government to provide services that are not profitable or provided by the private sector? As it is, the social service cuts already made have drastically impacted the state’s neediest citizens.

    “local governments need to be self-funding” - I don’t really disagree with this idea in principle, but don’t be surprised or complain when your property taxes go up, or the fire station near you closes, or your town lets go of some cops and the crime rate goes up, or your roads crumble but your town can’t afford to repave them.

  59. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 4:31 pm:

    ===but he can’t do anything for anybody before election day.===

    You forgot about the capital bill. There are plenty and plenty of goodies to hand out.

  60. - TwoFeetThick - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 4:51 pm:

    PR and Rambler - points taken. I was just using directors as an (bad) example that using averages to speculate who’s getting paid what should be used with caution.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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