“If you’re going to look for major reforms and finding savings, I suggest you look at the tax code where there’s a bunch of corporate giveaways and corporate loopholes,” Emanuel said. “That’s a perfect place to start, but do not think you are going to do this, not only on the backs of families and children, but the resources that go directly to the city are things that we use to pay for our police, firefighters and first responders.” […]
Rauner’s draconian budget offers little hope for Emanuel that such solutions are on the horizon. Instead, it’s estimated Chicago could lose $135 million in income tax distributions, which Emanuel said would lead to sharp cuts in city services.
“We use those resources to pay for police officers, firefighters, basic services. The idea that you would be look at basic services and cuts to the municipalities when you have a tax code that has giveaways to corporations, in my view is the wrong priorities,” Emanuel said. “I understand the need for change. I understand the need for reform. Start with the tax code that doesn’t actually meet the obligations of the state’s economic opportunity and future.”
The mayor criticized Rauner’s mass transit cuts saying, “This is not the time to cut back on the support for mass transit. This is the time to double down, just the opposite” to drive economic growth and create more jobs.
Last year, Rauner repeatedly said he wanted to close several corporate loopholes. So, why didn’t he include them in his budget yesterday? Well, state law forbids this. Governors are required, by statute, to introduce budgets with existing tax revenue streams. The law was designed to prevent fantasy budgets from being submitted with tax hikes that couldn’t pass anyway.
He could have, of course, mentioned his desire for loophole closures yesterday. But that phrase has not crossed his lips since the election. Almost all the sacrifice he demanded is placed on the backs of public employees and the poor and those who serve them.
* Well, almost. He did make one cut that has gone mostly unnoticed. Rauner proposed cutting a $1.5 million DCEO grant to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. Even so, the IMA had nothing but plaudits for Rauner’s overall budget yesterday…
While it’s a dose of tough medicine, Illinois needs to take action in order to get a healthy financial outlook once again. It’s important to stop kicking the can down the road and restore fiscal stability. Balancing the budget while preserving critical programs like education and vocational training will help jump start Illinois’ economic engine leading to job growth and economic development.