* As the Sun-Times noted at the time, the Senate’s graduated income tax debate was shorter than “Stairway to Heaven.” The House’s debate was almost the length of Andy Warhol’s “Sleep” movie. Let’s start with the Sun-Times…
The amendment’s sponsor, state Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, called the state’s current system “a very unfair tax system.” He countered opponents’ claims about Illinoisans and businesses leaving the state: “This is reform. This is an opportunity to fix the problems of Illinois.”
“The fair tax, if approved by the voters, if they choose this tax reform, this path forward for Illinois, we will be in a position where we can eliminate those deficits,” Martwick said. “And when we eliminate those deficits, we stop accumulating debts and we begin to pay them down. And when we pay down those debts we relieve the pressure for future tax increases.”
All 44 House Republicans put their lights on to speak during a lengthy debate on the floor on Monday afternoon, which began about 1 p.m and lasted until 4:30 p.m. The debate was much, much longer than the Senate debate — which clocked in at seven minutes. […]
“Please think about how repeating the same foolish tax-and-spend policies will not change anything about our future,” state Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Mokena, said. “We need to address the underlying drivers and we need to get our financial house in order, and this amendment does none of those things.”
I think some Republicans spoke for the very first time yesterday. I’ve never seen anything like it.
* It just went on and on and on…
During a three-hour Memorial Day debate in the House, state Rep. Delia Ramirez, D-Chicago, said the progressive income tax will be more equitable than the existing 4.95 percent flat income tax by reducing tax rates for 97 percent of taxpayers.
“Folks, I wish we would have been taxing at a higher rate,” Ramirez said. “I wish we would have been able to go to $1 million and [tax them at] 10 percent. We’re not there. We’re at 7.95 percent.” […]
State Rep. Andrew Chesney, R-Freeport, said the proposal would lower taxes for the working poor by less than $7 a year, not enough to buy a sandwich at a restaurant. For those making less than $100,000, Chesney said they’d save less than $38.
“That’s a heck of a negotiation, but the $37.38 will be erased when the Democratic majority passes the gas tax,” Chesney said.
* And on…
“The Democrats of Illinois have an insatiable taste for spending,” said Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield.
“I carry a simple message from southeast Illinois. We don’t trust you with our money,” said Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia.
“This is more of the same, taxes, taxes and more taxes,” said Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills. “This bill will kill jobs and drive more people out of the state.” […]
Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, said Illinois already has a fair tax in the flat tax system.
“It impacts everyone equally,” he said.
Republican Rep. Margo McDermed of Mokena called the rates proposal awaiting a House vote “teaser rates, fake rates, lying rates.”
“If you think that this doesn’t hit you, you’re wrong,” McDermed warned middle-class taxpayers.
Rep. Avery Bourne, a Republican from downstate Raymond, added, “There simply aren’t enough rich people in this state to pay for the insatiable appetite of spending that we see here in Springfield.” […]
“We put too much of the burden of funding our government on the backs of the people who can least afford to pay it,” said Rep. Robert Martwick, a Chicago Democrat who sponsored the proposed amendment.
“We’ve made year-after-year cuts to budgets like DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services), and now you have children dying because you have case workers that are overburdened and underpaid,” Rep. Rob Martwick, a Chicago Democrat and the bill’s sponsor, said. “So what are the solutions to these problems? The solutions are to eliminate our deficits, eliminate that structural deficit. When you do that, you start to right the ship. You can fund education, you can pay down debts.”
The options to do so, Martwick said, were to raise the state’s flat tax from 4.95 percent to 6.5 percent or higher, or to raise the $3.5 billion anticipated to come from the graduated rates.
Republicans said the bill more likely provided incentive for the state’s wealthiest taxpayers and job creators to leave, and warned that no matter what rates are approved by this Legislature, they can be raised in the future.
“The graduated tax will give Springfield the ability to raise taxes on whoever they want by manipulating rates and brackets,” Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, a Kankakee Republican, said. “The result will be an increase on the middle class. We cannot trust Springfield with any more of our money without real structural reforms to our state government and our political system.”
“Every time we turn around, an oppressive government sits like a vulture on a high line, ready to take more money out of your pocket. The American dream has become the American nightmare,” Rep. Chris Miller, R-Oakland, said.
Miller, a farmer, said promoting a graduated tax as “fair” is akin to putting “lipstick on a pig.”
“There couldn’t be anything more unfair,” Miller said, given that it will take “$3.4 billion from responsible citizens’ hands and puts it in the hands of irresponsible bureaucrats.” […]
Various GOP legislators say that Democrats’ focus is on taxes is a sign of their “insatiable” spending habits.
“I am willing, and in fact proud to stand here and say that I believe in government spending. I believe in government spending on food for the hungry, on shelter for the homeless, and on health care for the sick, on education for our children,” said state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago. “I don’t think that’s a spending problem. I think that is our job. That is the job of government.”
One point I didn’t see mentioned anywhere was the indignation by some Republicans when the Democrats chided them for wanting to spend government money without voting to pay for the programs.
* Biggest applause line on the Dem side…