Perhaps nothing better illustrates the causes of income inequality in America today than the vast differences in educational attainment between high-income households and low-income households. Nearly 70 percent of...
- The Tax Policy Blog
- Illinois Governor Quinn Proposes Income Tax Increase, Borrowing, No...
Illinois Governor Quinn Proposes Income Tax Increase, Borrowing, Not Paying Bills
Calling himself a realist, Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday scaled back his proposal to raise income taxes, shifting to a call for an increase of just one percentage point to be used solely for preventing deep cuts to education.
The rest of Illinois' record-breaking $13 billion budget deficit should be addressed mostly by borrowing money and letting more unpaid bills pile up, Quinn said in a brief speech to legislators.[...]
Quinn rejected calls for across-the-board budget cuts. His opponent in the fall election, Republican Sen. Bill Brady, favors cutting all of state government by about 10 percent.[...]
Although Quinn called for a tax increase, he did not include it in the formal budget he's submitting to the Legislature. Instead, his budget addresses the deficit by cutting expenses by $2 billion, borrowing $4.7 billion to pay old bills and letting about $6 billion in new bills pile up for another year.
State employees would have to take unpaid days off, saving $200 million. Prescription drug benefits for the elderly would be cut in half, saving $70 million. The state would share less tax money with local governments, saving about $300 million.
Quinn proposed a $2,500 tax credit for each new job created by small businesses. He said it would create 20,000 jobs.
Illinois's low, flat 3% income tax is the best thing about the state's tax system. It's simple and not that burdensome, comparatively. Property taxes in the state are above average, the sales tax is high, and corporate taxes are middle-of-the-road. See more on Illinois ranks here.
Claiming that new revenue will be used "solely" for something is economically ignorant. Dollars are fungible, and since education is unlikely to be the first thing cut in the budget, the tax increase is preventing cuts to other programs, not education. It's a nice show to pretend education has its head in the noose, but it's all one pot of money.
Borrowing money to pay current bills, and leaving some unpaid, is pretty irresponsible. It shouldn't even count as a balanced budget. I'm sure Governor Quinn, like everyone, would like to have both cake and ice cream. But revenues and expenditures need to match, and that takes discussion and hard choices. Is he not up to it?
Buy this blogger a cup of coffee!
Join the Tax Foundation's fight for sound tax policy Go
About the Tax Policy Blog
The Tax Policy Blog is the official weblog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.