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Poll: Illinoisans think government spends too much, taxes too high, don’t want tax hikes

Tuesday, Mar 7, 2017

* Illinois Policy Institute press release…

More than half of Illinoisans say state government spends too much money, and should close its budget deficit by only cutting spending – not raising taxes. This is according to a new poll of likely Illinois voters, released today by the non-partisan Illinois Policy Institute.

The state has been without a full year’s budget for almost two years. The Illinois General Assembly is expected to take up a budget proposal from the Illinois Senate, called the ‘grand bargain.’ This proposal would enact massive tax increases and accomplish little with regard to transformative spending or economic reforms. The poll results show the main components of the ‘grand bargain’ are significantly out of step with how Illinois voters would like their elected officials to end the historic budget impasse.

“The poll results are clear: Illinoisans from both sides of the political aisle are fed up with tax increases and do-nothing legislation sold to them as ‘reform.’ They know state government spends more than it should, and they feel the pain of high income and property taxes,” said John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute.

The poll was conducted by Fabrizio, Lee & Associates, and surveyed 600 likely voters from across Illinois on Feb. 28 and March 1. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed self-identified as either moderate or liberal, and 42 percent described themselves as Democrats. The poll has a 4 percent margin of error.

Key findings from the poll:

    80 percent of Illinoisans surveyed supported spending cuts as a vehicle to balance the state budget; more than half of Illinoisans said spending cuts should be the only tool used to close the budget deficit.
    7 percent of Illinoisans surveyed said the state should raise taxes without cutting spending.
    70 percent of respondents said property taxes are too high; only 2 percent of respondents said property taxes are too low.
    60 percent of Illinoisans surveyed ranked state income taxes as too high.
    81 percent of Illinoisans said the state is headed on the “wrong track.”

* The poll

Generally speaking, would you say that things in the STATE OF ILLINOIS are headed in the right direction or would you say that things are seriously headed off on the wrong track?

    Right direction 11
    Wrong track 81
    Don’t Know/Refused 8

Generally speaking, when it comes to how much the state government spends overall, which of the following comes closest to you opinion…(ROTATE READING 1-3 or 3-1)

    State Government spends too much 57
    State Government spends about the right amount 15
    State Government doesn’t spend enough 21
    Unsure (DO NOT READ) 5
    Refused (DO NOT READ) 2

Generally speaking, when it comes to STATE taxes, which of the following comes closest to your opinion… (ROTATE READING 1-3 or 3-1)

    State taxes are too high 60
    State taxes are just about right 31
    State taxes are too low 8
    Unsure (DO NOT READ) 1
    Refused (DO NOT READ)

Generally speaking, when it comes to PROPERTY taxes, which of the following comes closest to your opinion…(ROTATE READING 1-3 or 3-1)

    Property taxes are too high 70
    Property taxes are just about right 24
    Property taxes are too low 2
    Unsure (DO NOT READ) 3
    Refused (DO NOT READ) 1

As you may know the state faces a significant budget deficit. The state constitution requires that the state have a balanced budget. Which of the following would you favor MOST to balance the state budget… (ROTATE READING 1-3 or 3-1)

    ONLY cut state spending and do NOT raise taxes 51
    Cut some state spending and raise some taxes 35
    Do NOT cut state spending and ONLY raise taxes 7
    Unsure (DO NOT READ) 5
    Refused (DO NOT READ) 2

Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with the following statement. (PROBE: Strongly/Somewhat agree/disagree) “Illinois state lawmakers should pass major structural reforms before passing any tax increase.”

    TOTAL AGREE 79
    TOTAL DISAGREE 14
    Strongly Agree 48
    Somewhat Agree 31
    Somewhat Disagree 7
    Strongly Disagree 6
    Unsure (DO NOT READ) 6
    Refused (DO NOT READ) 1

* Methodology

SAMPLE SIZE: N=600 Registered Voters - 45% cell phone users

People always think that government spends too much and should make big cuts. Give them choices on those cuts, however, and they don’t generally love them.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

104 Comments
  1. - red rider - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:24 am:

    try not living beyond your means. if you don’t want high property tax don’t buy an expensive home.


  2. - Spliff - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:24 am:

    I hope IPI didn’t spend much money on this poll. I don’t think they needed it to spew their talking points.


  3. - South of Sherman - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:24 am:

    POLL: Illinoisans want everything but don’t want to pay for it

    Well. That’s a completely unexpected result.


  4. - slow down - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:24 am:

    Has there ever been a poll where people favored higher taxes and higher spending? Nobody, including the governor, wants to identify the cuts necessary to balance the budget without raising taxes.


  5. - Nick Name - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:25 am:

    “…the non-partisan Illinois Policy Institute.”

    L, as they say, OL.


  6. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:25 am:

    Well since Bruce funds IPI, and since they say the budget should be balanced only with spending cuts, why, oh why, doesn’t he submit a cuts-only balanced budget? I mean they’re his guys, right? When they speak, it’s as if the governor is speaking directly, right?


  7. - PJ - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:27 am:

    Meaningless drivel.

    “Do you want to pay more to the government or less?”

    “Less”.

    Now try: “do you want hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people to be kicked off Medicare and see enormous cuts to school funding statewide?”

    Gosh, I wonder if those percentages would be the same.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:27 am:

    Rauner continues to push what he really believes here…

    … so he can pretend he was not to blame for the implosion of the Grand Bargain.

    I need to keep in mind “things” like “this” are funded by Bruce Rauner.

    I need to remember Bruce Rauner and John Tillmam vetted a pick for an appointment to the Illinois General Assembly. That’s Tillman and Rauner. Together. Vetting.

    Rauner needs a budget. Rauner’s is $4-7 billion out of whack.

    You’d think Rauner would be angry at IPI for this poll.

    You’d be… wrong(?)

    That’s right. Exactly right.


  9. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:30 am:

    Seeing as 25% of the state’s spending is on pensions (9.1 billion in interest and only 2.3 billion in principal reduction this year on the 130 billion in unfunded liability) ,I would guess that voters would prefer a constitutional amendment to limit that liability going forward than other cuts that would affect state services.

    Speaker Madigan was right when he said in 2013, everyone agrees the pensions are unsustainable. Fixing this should be a priority along with revenue increases.


  10. - Naperville Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:33 am:

    They don’t like specific cuts, but do they like specific tax increases?


  11. - Ok - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    This is a Rauner funded IPI artcle… Why even take it as being credible?


  12. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    I have to wonder (of course, not in this particular poll—after all, no one had to read results before they knew what the IPI would be spouting) but are people really that incapable of logical thought and self absorption? They understand the link between paying alot for a house/car/meal/whatever, but they don’t understand the correlation of tax dollars to public services like education? If they really are that dumb, then I’d have to agree the schools are absolutely not doing their job.


  13. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    =Speaker Madigan was right when he said in 2013, everyone agrees the pensions are unsustainable. Fixing this should be a priority along with revenue increases.=

    Your support for Madigan, the ILDP, changes that will not result in lower spending, and raising taxes is duly noted.


  14. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:35 am:

    ==I would guess that voters would prefer a constitutional amendment to limit that liability going forward than other cuts that would affect state services.==

    Maybe. Try running one!

    But bare in mind it will only affect pensions going forward. What we owe, we owe.


  15. - AC - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:36 am:

    If they’d specified the cuts, then I suspect that the results would have been very different.


  16. - Name Withheld - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:37 am:

    ===Seeing as 25% of the state’s spending is on pensions (9.1 billion in interest and only 2.3 billion in principal reduction this year on the 130 billion in unfunded liability) ,I would guess that voters would prefer a constitutional amendment to limit that liability going forward than other cuts that would affect state services.===

    See as how 25% of the state’s spending is on pensions because of Illinois historically underfunding pensions from as early as 1915 if not earlier, I would guess that voters would prefer a constitutional amendment requiring the legislature to fund pensions at a minimum of 80% going forward.

    Fixed it for you.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:38 am:

    ===…along with revenue increases===

    As long as revenue is required, paired or not with anything, so saying its a “give” isn’t honest to process.


  18. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:39 am:

    New IPI Poll: 77% of Illinoisans approve of dessert. Support for eating vegetables falls to a new low of 19%.

    I think if you looked at polling data from across the state, the numbers IPI “found” in this poll would be pretty typical. This is the Captain Obvious poll.

    I mean, really? Did they really need to hire a pollster to come up with this? I could have guessed and gotten pretty close to these numbers. Lol.


  19. - 100 miles west - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:39 am:

    Has any member of the GA introduced the IPI cuts only budget?


  20. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:40 am:

    ==are people really that incapable of logical thought and self absorption?==

    Maybe, maybe not. Read the poll only for what it says, and keep the “intensity of opinion” in mind. 51% “favor MOST” that the budget be balanced with only spending cuts. That doesn’t mean they all actually think it can be done, or aren’t OK with another path, or, most importantly, are going to vote against anyone who can’t deliver that particular unicorn.


  21. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:40 am:

    If you looked at polling data from across the state *over decades* the numbers IPI found would be typical.


  22. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:41 am:

    Yes I would detailing support the ILDP and Speaker Madigan if they made pension reform through a constitutional amendment a priority and the inevitable tax increases that would accompany it.

    What do the declared Democratic candidates for Governor say on the matter?

    Do they disagree with the Speaker and pretty much everyone else that the pensions as currently constructed are sustainable?


  23. - illinoised - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:42 am:

    Asking people if they want to pay taxes is like asking them if they want to die.

    And asking a question with one of the choices being ONLY CUT STATE SPENDING, without explaining that option alone is not sufficient to fix the problem, is downright misleading.


  24. - Austinman - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:44 am:

    Sure word the poll differently and I bet you get different numbers.


  25. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:47 am:

    ==What do the declared Democratic candidates for Governor say on the matter?==

    Seems like a question better directed at them, doesn’t it?


  26. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:47 am:

    Tier 2 fixed the pension problem.


  27. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:51 am:

    ===…and the inevitable tax increases that would accompany it.===

    Again, for the second time here, revenue is going to be required, amendment or not. Trying to marry it as a “give” or a term for doing something is disingenuous.

    If you can’t fully grasp this, these issues might be over your head.

    If you do grasp this and you continue to pretend realities aren’t what they are, you are being disingenuous to your own “smarts”.

    Either way, you know what you’re doing. It’s now how you think you each others to see these comments and accept your false premises.


  28. - Amalia - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:51 am:

    what Rich wrote at the end, times 10.

    I long for each voting citizen to be required to read some piece (maybe something from John McCarron) on how government is funded, what it funds exactly, and perhaps then citizens will understand you can’t pay for police/schools/fire/roads/sewers/water let alone parks and hunting and fishing activities if you just want to cut the flow of money to pay for things.


  29. - City Zen - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:51 am:

    ==try not living beyond your means. if you don’t want high property tax don’t buy an expensive home.==

    Tell that to Chicago’s impoverished south suburbs who pay over 5% effective property tax rates on their “expensive” homes.


  30. - City Zen - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:53 am:

    ==Tier 2 fixed the pension problem.==

    Said every Tier 1 employee.


  31. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:54 am:

    These “polls” and IPI breathless findings are so predictable they’re boring.

    Just another phone-it-in “story.”


  32. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    == Tier 2 fixed the pension problem. ==

    Yes, it did. The problem is Tier 2 didn’t erase the pension debt; that still has to paid … and it will take 30 - 40 years to pay it off. That’s the part people don’t understand; you can’t pay off over 50 years of shorting the pension funds in just a few years.


  33. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    ===required to read some piece on how government is funded==

    Yes. And those who want to pay less are outraged when something they value is cut or eliminated. I don’t believe this is a matter of not understanding funding–rather, it is pure self absorption. Those who want pension changes aren’t satisfied with the vastly streamlined Tier 2. They want those in Tier 1 to get less.

    Ask these same people if they’re willing to have their Social Security benefits diminished and they’ll scream that it is owed them. They paid for those benefits (as if state pensioners did not). Selfishness.


  34. - Pundent - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:00 am:

    LP - I think it’s universally agreed that underfunding anything is unsustainable.


  35. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:00 am:

    And in other news…water is wet and the sky is blue. But thanks IPI for educating us that people don’t like to pay for things but decline to give anything up either.

    Oh, and - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:30 am:

    “Speaker Madigan was right when he said in 2013, everyone agrees the pensions are unsustainable. Fixing this should be a priority along with revenue increases.”

    Holy crap - I agree with LP on something. Time to get the head examined.


  36. - Piece of Work - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:02 am:

    Willy, serious straightforward question. In your opinion, what should the state income tax go to? Permanent or to sunset in XX years?


  37. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:03 am:

    Everyone who advocates to just just spending should be asked what services, specifically, they want cut … and start with a pie chart showing how $100 of state taxes are spent with the mandatory spending that can’t cut identified, then move on to another chart of $100 of property taxes.

    Be really interesting to see what cuts get picked out of the truly discretionary spending.


  38. - Jocko - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    47th beat me to it! What are the poll numbers for “Those who would like to have their cake and eat it too.” 90%?

    A better question would be “Where’s Bruce going to get his $4.57 Billion Dollar G.B. from?” The second question should be “No. Really. How’s he going to get it?”


  39. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    Things like this make me want to give up. Let it all go down. Maybe the experience of becoming a third world nation would change people. Or maybe folks should just spend one day in East St. Louis Illinois. They would then realize what underfunding causes. ESL is a ruin. Vacant lots, hardly even a struggling business left. Even the strip clubs are burned out vacant shells. The desperate poor live here. Loving good people. But almost all here are poor. Unless you make at least 150k a year this is where you’re going to end up. In a city like East St. Louis. The privileged have insulated themselves from this. They are blind.


  40. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    What is important is how our state politicians view these and similar polls. They have to vote on the record. And apparently, many of them want to keep their jobs.

    It doesn’t sound as if they are being inundated with calls from folks who want their taxes raised.

    So what to do? Liberals’ denigration of those supposedly too stupid to want their taxes raised doesn’t seem to work too well, as we saw in the last national election.


  41. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    =Do they disagree with the Speaker and pretty much everyone else that the pensions as currently constructed are sustainable?=

    Both you and Madigan may be immune to facts but your statement is grossly false.

    “Pretty much everyone” are not in agreement.

    Can you cite some reliable data for that one?

    “Pretty much everyone” is a big number. Like 99%, no?

    The pension IS sustainable. The fact that after 90 or more years of under/non funding the fact that there is still 40% of obligations in the bank clearly demonstrates on an empirical basis, that it is sustainable.

    The annual cost has come down by hundreds of millions since 2011.

    Only a magic wand can erase the debt, which is responsible for $6.5 Billion in payments.

    That is old money that was diverted or borrowed. No legal option erases that.

    You are on the hook for paying that money just like the rest of us.


  42. - City Zen - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    ==Ask these same people if they’re willing to have their Social Security benefits diminished and they’ll scream that it is owed them. They paid for those benefits (as if state pensioners did not). Selfishness.==

    While the government was shorting those Social Security contributions, did they use that money to raise my salary? I see no record of any additional government stipends in my gross wages.

    BTW - My Social Security benefits will indeed be diminished. I will get back less than what people making less than me put in. That’s kinda how it works. And that’s not assuming they don’t raise the minimum age before I retire, which will be another diminishment.


  43. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:06 am:

    ===Willy, serious straightforward question. In your opinion, what should the state income tax go to? Permanent or to sunset in XX years?===

    - Piece of Work -,

    Seriously, asked and answered.

    Asked and answered when you’ve asked before.

    Now, before you say “I don’t answer”, think. You wouldn’t want me to pull up where we had this discussion before.


  44. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:08 am:

    == “Speaker Madigan was right when he said in 2013, everyone agrees the pensions are unsustainable. Fixing this should be a priority along with revenue increases.” ==

    The truth is there is no fix EXCEPT to pay the pension debt … which REQUIRES a revenue increase.


  45. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:08 am:

    What City Zen said.

    More expansively: The median average household income in Illinois is $60,000. These tax hikes are going to cause immense pain to a lot of people, not just living in a slightly less comfortable home. The interests of the “working class” and lower income span of the middle class don’t fit well with either side of this war - they benefit from protection of some programs but not from the lack of constitutional pension reform or protection of state employee benefits/salaries.


  46. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:09 am:

    OW do you really believe any taxes will be raised without any changes to state government? No one but you is even trying to make the case tax increases alone will solve Illinois problems.


  47. - So tired of political hacks - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    Top personal tax in Wisconsin over 7%
    Iowa almost 9
    Missouri over 7%
    Ohio and Michigan over 5.25%
    Illinois 3.75 and loosing jobs to all those other states according to Rauner.


  48. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    =Said every Tier 1 employee.=

    And math.


  49. - So tired of political hacks - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    BTW they all have progressive take fund their school systems and have budgets.


  50. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    JS Mill I stand corrected pretty much everyone except the participants in the pension funds many of whom are legislators and Supreme Court Justices.

    After a few years of new legislators who have no pension benefits start voting on these matters the problem will be fixed


  51. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:17 am:

    ==Said every Tier 1 employee.==

    You aren’t going to do anything to affect those workers. The Court has ruled.

    ==My Social Security benefits will indeed be diminished==

    All of us expect that. Beyond that I’m not sure what your point is.


  52. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:17 am:

    Note Kansas.

    Fact. Lower taxes do not equal growth.

    Laffer curve is a theory that has destroyed

    So many economies.

    Darth Arduin has led us to ruin

    EDGE, TIF, EZ Zones have bled us dry

    FACT


  53. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:17 am:

    ===…do you really believe any taxes will be raised without any changes to state government? No one but you is even trying to make the case tax increases alone will solve Illinois problems===

    Point out where I say no changes need to be made.

    You can’t.

    You also can’t have a requirement be a give. Ever.

    Revenue is happening, or it will be required to happen, again I’m reminding you of the Rauner status quo grossly of whack budget.

    You won’t get 60 and 30 selling…

    “You’ll vote firca tax increase, a give, and you’ll give cuts too.”

    The cuts are part of the discussion.

    The revenue required isn’t up for debate or discussion. It’s required.

    Argue like an adult.


  54. - PoW - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    Willy, would you pull it up? I’m old and senile and just don’t remember your answer. Seriously.


  55. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:24 am:

    - Piece of Work -

    ===… would you pull it up? I’m old and senile and just don’t remember your answer. Seriously.===

    You’re not old and senile, you’re lazy and inept.

    This isn’t the first time you’ve asked. I’m not you’re Google. You’ve strained your “credit” to the last. Enough.

    Why so curt? Check the date. March 3rd… 2017.

    Capiche?

    Enough with the babe in the woods.

    http://bit.ly/2lTn4j1


  56. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:31 am:

    =After a few years of new legislators who have no pension benefits start voting on these matters the problem will be fixed=

    LOL! You mean the newbies will actually pay the bills!

    You must not have learned to read contracts, Supreme Court decisions, constitutions, you know……stuff like that.

    Some people out there actually believe in making good on their responsibilities…

    Not you or the governor or MJM.

    But, some people.


  57. - City Zen - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:34 am:

    @So tired - All those states tax retirement income.


  58. - Anon - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    State income taxes are too high? Compared to whom? Only two of the 41 states with a state income tax have a lower rate, and one of those (Indiana) allows counties to also tax income.


  59. - So tired of political hacks - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    True dat. But everyone isn’t fleeing their states.


  60. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    The hand-wringing over how increasing taxes would hurt so many. It doesn’t need to hurt as many as you might think. A progressive tax structure would sure help minimize the hurt to middle class workers. So would that millionaire tax that passed in referendum. If one wants more money they need to look at where it can be found. Not from those with light purses. But I know that’s never the way it works………


  61. - City Zen - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    @Demoralized - I never said you could. I just find it amusing that Tier 1 employees often brag that Tier 2 employees solved their pension problem for them. I can’t imagine that conversation goes over well in the break room.


  62. - Dublin - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:43 am:

    Illinois is 11th lowest in spending as a % of GDP. 15th if you include local spending.

    This FACT makes everyone’s point about spending cuts completely moot.

    http://www.usgovernmentdebt.us/compare_state_spending_2016pF0s


  63. - So tired of political hacks - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    It also has the lowest% of state employees per capita. And it’s the 5th largest economy in the us. Illinois not poor.


  64. - walker - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    Tier 2, like it or not, already solves the fundamental ongoing pension problems in a fairly drastic way. It starts taking some big chunks out of fiscal funding requirements in less than 15 years. Some argue it is too severe, and will cause SSN problems.

    What it doesn’t solve is paying back debt incurred by pension funding “holidays” taken by the GA and various governors, and the pension ramp payments required in the short and medium term.

    Not to be Captain Obvious, but any legal ways to attack the problem will be working around the edges, and won’t produce big enough numbers to “solve” it in the short term.


  65. - jdcolombo - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    Hmmm.

    I wonder why IPI doesn’t commission a poll on whether taxpayers would prefer a tax increase from 3.75% to 5% vs. the IPI-proposed budget cuts (spelled out for those taking the poll). Or perhaps they have taken such a poll and it didn’t turn out well?

    As for taxing retirement income, there is no question in my mind that we should do that above some threshold. I’m retired; I should be paying SOMETHING in taxes - after all, my retirement payments are simply deferred compensation; if I had instead been paid the value of my retirement at the time I earned it, I would have paid taxes on it. Tax all retirement income above a 60,000 floor.


  66. - Seats - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    Just wanted to point out that the IPI had a poll a couple of weeks ago asking if its right for state employees to strike given the circumstances.

    When the votes were coming in strongly for ‘yes’ the poll magically just vanished the same day with no sign of it to be found.

    Makes it even harder to trust their polls.


  67. - City Zen - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    ==Illinois is 11th lowest in spending as a % of GDP. 15th if you include local spending.==

    All high GDP states like Illinois (California, New York, Florida, Texas) rank in the bottom dozen just like Illinois.

    Context is never moot.


  68. - facts are stubborn things - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    This is how we got into the pension mess we are in today. Everybody wants services and not pay for them. They can not tell you what to cut specifically and they don’t want taxes to go up. I know, lets spend the pension money and make everybody happy and then when the bill comes do blame the greedy state employees and retirees.


  69. - facts are stubborn things - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    The pension system is fine, it is the unfunded pension debt that has been ran up over a 50 plus year period that is the problem. Like any huge debt it will need to be paid off over many many years just like a home mortgage.


  70. - City Zen - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:01 am:

    =It also has the lowest % of state employees per capita. And it’s the 5th largest economy in the US.==

    California, New York, Florida, and Texas all have higher GDPs yet rank in the bottom 10 just like Illinois. In fact, most states with higher populations fall at the bottom of those ratings.

    Again, context…


  71. - facts are stubborn things - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:01 am:

    All well funded pension systems have one thing in common…..the actuarially required pension payment has been made. The state of Illinois has done the opposite and has come up with a balloon payment (Edgar Ramp) to catch up that sounded good at the time but when the bill comes due does not look so good. Time to refinance the pension debt with a long term 30 to 40 year fixed payment system that becomes easier and easier to make as the years go by.


  72. - So tired of political hacks - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:07 am:

    @facts are stubborn things
    Thank you! Most pension payment come from invest income from the pension itself. People need to do their homework. Any 401 k has unfunded liability unless your in the 1% like Rauner and his people.


  73. - Tommydanger - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:10 am:

    I have some other poll numbers too:

    Where should tax dollars be spent to improve or maintain roads?

    Only where I drive 80%
    Anywhere where needed in the state 10%
    Not Sure 5%
    Don’t care, don’t own a car 5%

    Where should cuts be made to balance the budget?

    Medicaid payments for everyone else 75%
    Other programs and services I don’t use 20%
    Unsure 4%
    Cut my benefits, I own 9 homes 1%


  74. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:12 am:

    == Time to refinance the pension debt with a long term 30 to 40 year fixed payment system that becomes easier and easier to make as the years go by. ==

    The one problem with that is the first so many years payments will be higher than what is required by the revised ramp, and require a bigger tax hike now.


  75. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    IPI just put out their ‘Budget Solutions 2018′ in January. Why doesn’t the Governor take all the suggestions in the IPI plan and adjust the budget he presented to the GA. It would require $7B in cuts and would create a balanced budget. That way the public sees exactly what would happen to them and not just respond to ‘what do you think’ surveys. CTBA showed that the IPI plan required cutting 1/6 of K-12 funding. Trouble is, IPI and CTBA ideas generally blow right past most people because abstract concepts stay abstract until they actually touch the public. What do you mean class size will be 30? Not going to fix pot holes? My dentist wants cash?


  76. - BK Bro - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:49 am:

    Surely we can all point out the typical flaws of polling and surveys. The reality is that most of the folks here are in a bubble. You probably know more about “the State” than some of the people polled.

    The problem is that people outside of this bubble aren’t seeing the value of paying what they believe to be high taxes. They see a State govt. that’s dysfunctional, a declining population, uneven wealth growth in Chicago, vacant strip malls, and long lines at the DMV. Illinois is not California. If you raise taxes too high, people will leave. If people leave, that could make the current revenue problems worse.

    The best approach would be precise cuts to programs and modest revenue increases. However, that can’t happen because this is Illinois!


  77. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    IPI is trolling here.
    Their poll confirms their opinion the same way a supposed medical break through report advocates for the homeopathic remedies found at a dirty health food suppliment being offered on late night television infomercials.


  78. - Signal and Noise - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:50 pm:

    What a great source of new information this is! Voters don’t like taxes and do like reforms? Well then, let’s just get our of Mr. Rauner’s way and usher in a new day of prosperity!

    Yawn.


  79. - PoW - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:40 pm:

    Ah Willy, just as I figured, you didn’t answer the question last week and you didn’t answer it this week. All you had to post is “the state income tax should be xxx%” but you just couldn’t. Just include it in your cute quips and you can even throw in RAUNER OWNS IT—I’m okay with it.


  80. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:41 pm:

    ==SAMPLE SIZE: N=600 Registered Voters==

    ….taken from the IPI donor list.


  81. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:42 pm:

    - Piece of Work -

    What do you want now, it read out loud for you?

    Read. Enough is enough.


  82. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:44 pm:

    PoW:

    Would you like to know his blood type and shoe size as well? Instead of your constant interrogation of others as to what they would do maybe you should lay out a plan. It’s not our job to come up with the details. I think advocating for both revenue increases and spending cuts is sufficient enough for our arena. You want details? Come up with them for yourself.


  83. - Whatever - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    ==Do they disagree with the Speaker and pretty much everyone else that the pensions as currently constructed are sustainable? ==

    Absolute nonsense. When pensions are properly funded up front, they are sustainable. Check out the California Supreme Court case involving Hoechst Celanese and the North Carolina Supreme Court case involving Union Carbide. These companies shut their defined benefit plans down because they were overfunded, and the companies wanted the excess funding. There was so much of that going on during the late 70’s and early 80’s, Congress imposed a penalty on corporations for doing it. It was pension overfunding that killed defined benefit plans in the private sector. If we wanted to start a Tier One type plan for new employees today, and funded it currently, it wouldn’t be a significant burden at all.

    And, as others point out, our problem is the existing debt for pensions already earned, which must be paid in any event under the federal Constitution’s contract clause. No “reform” is going to help. Falling behind on your credit cards is what is unsustainable.


  84. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    When pensions are properly funded up front, they are sustainable.

    How is this relevant to Illinois?

    Hence the unsustainable comment.


  85. - Whatever - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 2:37 pm:

    The “unsustainable” part is the debt for pensions already earned, and that is no different from any other debt that the state has incurred. The fact that it was incurred in connection with a pension is irrelevant. What part of that don’t you understand?


  86. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    The comment from the Speaker is that pensions as currently contracted are unsustainable. This the reality pensions are not sustainable for future state workers because of the debt that has been rung up by irresponsible polices under the Speaker’s leadership.We used to spend 5 percent of state revenues on pensions, now it is 25% and going higher. The pension payments are squeezing all other state spending.

    That was a mea culpa from the Speaker, and a pretty rare one. I don’t think I have ever heard him take responsibility before for this debacle but he clearly did.

    Now why won’t he lift a finger to solve the problem?


  87. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    =Hence the unsustainable comment.=

    You are not a big fan of math are you?


  88. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 3:24 pm:

    You have me confused with the legislators in Illinois of which I am not one


  89. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 3:25 pm:

    =You have me confused with the legislators in Illinois of which I am not one=

    No, although understandable as you make as little sense as most of them do.


  90. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 3:39 pm:

    ==Now why won’t he lift a finger to solve the problem?==

    Um, he pushed throw a pension “reform” bill a couple of years ago which got the court to state what pretty much everyone already knew - that you can’t change pensions for current employees.

    Instead of trying to figure out how to get around the Constitutional protections placed on pensions maybe the concern should be figuring out how to fund what is owed and continuing to fix the problem in the future. People complain about wanting state workers to go to a 401k plan. Fine. Nothing is stopping them from changing that right now for new employees.


  91. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 3:44 pm:

    ==Um, he pushed throw a pension “reform” bill a couple of years ago==

    Anything that happened before 2015 is irrelevant, unless we’re trying to assess Rauner’s performance, in which case it’s the only thing relevant. Didn’t you know that? /s


  92. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    == Now why won’t he lift a finger to solve the problem? ==

    The only legal fix to the Tier 1 pension debt is a tax increase to pay for it.

    That might have something to do with it. I’m sure MJM wants that to be a bi-partisan vote.


  93. - City Zen - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 4:15 pm:

    ==The only legal fix to the Tier 1 pension debt is a tax increase to pay for it.==

    Or a pay freeze.


  94. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 4:20 pm:

    RNUG you could change the constitution to restrict future benefits for current employees

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/news/ct-sta-kadner-amendment-st-0729-20150728-story.html

    that will require the Speaker to lift a finger


  95. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 4:26 pm:

    =Or a pay freeze.=

    The state can freeze pay for state employees, but no one else.

    That still saves nothing today or the foreseeable future.

    The debt is the cost driver.

    Current payments are being made.

    Tier II is actually creating equity in the system.

    Ok, you do not want public employees paid, or given raises etc. Understood.

    I wonder how that might effect the economy when hundreds of thousands of consumers and taxpayers suddenly don’t participate in the economy at an increasing rate?

    I wonder how the the other taxpayers will fare as a result?


  96. - Whatever - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 4:43 pm:

    ==The state can freeze pay for state employees, but no one else.==

    And the majority of the unfunded pension is for teachers. The state cannot freeze their pay.


  97. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 4:43 pm:

    LP: You’re back to the “accrued benefits” argument that got shot down in flames by the ILSC. Try again.


  98. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 4:53 pm:

    == you could change the constitution to restrict future benefits for current employees ==

    Nope. The courts have already ruled that out.


  99. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 5:03 pm:

    We’ve been around and around on this.

    As I’ve been saying, our political masters are waiting for Superman to tell them what to do, so they can evade responsibility. The state can’t declare bankruptcy. But I’d bet a lot of them would love to live in a state where the bankruptcy (or other type of) judge decides all the hard stuff. So much easier for them.

    Time to send up the next “pension plan” to the Supremes.


  100. - AnotherProf - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 5:06 pm:

    This a crasy bad poll. Fifty-five percent are landline users which means the poll is heavily skewed to older residents.


  101. - MyTwoCents - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 5:46 pm:

    City Zen @ 10:05, how much of the money that was diverted from the pensions went to salary raises vs. keeping the income tax rate @ an artificially low 3%? Unless the answer is 100% your social security analogy doesn’t hold up because every citizen in Illinois benefited from the pensions being used to cover structural deficits, not just State employees.


  102. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 9:46 pm:

    The solution requires all of the above and much more. To put it as simply as possible, unless we change the constitution, there are only two options remaining. First, we raise taxes. Second, we cut nonpension spending. Every policy is simply a variation on one or both of these two themes.

    https://news.illinois.edu/blog/view/6367/170279

    RNUG, there is some disagreement on your point about future changes to the Illinois Constitution diminishing future pension credits


  103. - A. Lincoln - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:21 pm:

    IPI nonpartisan :-) sure they are! IPI also conducting a poll on what came first the chicken or the egg?


  104. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Mar 8, 17 @ 8:38 am:

    LP @ 9:46 The debate isn’t about future pension credits. The fact is that the pension is based on a promise made on Day 1 that says “If you work X years, you will get Y% of your average salary over the last Z years.” And not a penny less. That’s why it’s called a “Defined Benefit” system after all. That says nothing about accruals, or future value or pension credits.


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