Last week we highlighted
the chorus of budget experts who say that the calls for Gov. Pat Quinn
to cut his way out of the state’s projected $11.5 billion deficit alone
are misguided. Instead of pairing targeted cuts with fundamental tax
reform—thereby bringing Illinois’ ...
Last week we highlighted the chorus of budget experts who say that the calls for Gov. Pat Quinn to cut his way out of the state’s projected $11.5 billion deficit alone are misguided. Instead of pairing targeted cuts with fundamental tax reform—thereby bringing Illinois’ substandard income tax rate in line with the rest of the nation—such an approach would actually harm the state’s economy by accelerating job losses and increasing demand for publicly-funded services. As Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller recently pointed out, tax increase foes “fail to see the plain, hard facts” that, short of a government blackout, balancing the books with cuts alone is simply impossible.
Still, North Shore Congressman Mark Kirk in perpetuating the Illinois GOP’s irrational argument that the state’s budget crisis can be averted with a little belt-tightening. From a WBEZ report today:
KIRK: We should not have a huge tax increase. Instead we should have cuts in state spending and an understanding that families are really hurting right now and a 50-percent tax increase is not what they need to see.
First off, not all of Illinois’ families would experience a 50 percent increase in their income taxes. Under Quinn’s reported proposal the income tax rate would rise from 3 percent to 4.5 percent, but the annual standard personal tax exemption would be tripled to offset the burden on low and moderate-incomes households. Based on the median state income figures from 2007, half of all Illinois households would actually experience no tax increase at all.
Indeed, low-income Illinois workers who’ve been paying a disproportionate share of their wages towards income taxes would finally get some relief. In addition to other fee hikes and a corporate income tax increase, Quinn is also expected to announce a variety of budget cuts during his first budget address tomorrow.
In the meantime, instead of offering his own solutions for fixing the structural deficiencies that put Illinois $11.5 billion in the hole to begin with, Kirk has opted to recite the same old, politically convenient talking points.