Explore our content

All types | All dates | All authors
Taxes
PI Original
by Micah Maidenberg
3:09pm
Tue Sep 14, 2010

Daley's Last Budget

The city of Chicago's balance sheet is filled with red ink. As Mayor Richard Daley prepares to offer the last spending plan of his long career, aldermen need to articulate new approaches to city budgeting.

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
10:38am
Tue Sep 14, 2010

Pantagraph: Brady Is Wrong On Gas Tax

Transit advocates think Illinois needs to increase substantially its state gasoline tax to finance needed infrastructure projects. GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady, on the other hand, wants to roll back the sales tax applied to gasoline purchases, draining Illinois' coffers of roughly $610 million per year. The Pantagraph editorial board isn't picking up what Brady's putting down:

If fairness and competitive advantage for border communities were the only factors on which to judge Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady’s call for ending the state sales tax on gasoline, it would be easy to say, “Go for it!” But there is another factor — a more compelling factor, at this point — and that’s revenue ...

[W]ith the state mired in debt with an unbalanced budget, this is the wrong time to eliminate the sales tax on gasoline in Illinois.

Read the full editorial here.

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
12:00pm
Mon Sep 13, 2010

Where's The Budget Life Preserver?

"I am not a proponent of the tax increase, so I have no idea if the tax increase will pass or not."

That was House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), riffing with reporters at a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday. It's not the first time he's thrown cold water on Gov. Pat Quinn's income tax proposal, having told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in May that he would not commit to raising the state's low income tax. But the timing of this specific statement is politically potent; targeted House Democrats now have all the cover in the world to run against the proposal, which Republicans will not vote for and the speaker can continue to bury even after the November elections.

Without a tax increase, though, it's unclear how the General Assembly can even begin to pay the late bills it owes to the state's service providers and schools. Gaming revenue is down. Personal income tax revenues are creeping up slowly, but budget analysts are urging caution. The State Senate can't even muster enough votes to pass a borrowing bill that would cover Illinois' annual pension contribution. With gubernatorial frontrunner Bill Brady vowing to veto any tax increase that crosses his desk, it could be a long, long while before Illinois gets out of the red.

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
10:35am
Mon Sep 13, 2010

Making The Lottery Less Regresssive

Like some of the state's leading diversity organizations, the State Journal-Register thinks that Gov. Pat Quinn should select Camelot Group to operate Illinois' lottery system when he makes his decision later this week. Here's why:

[Camelot Illinois CEO Jeff] Perlee noted also that in Chicago, 18 of the top 20 lottery retailers are located in low-income neighborhoods. In England, the top sellers are supermarkets in affluent suburbs. That’s because “they have a fundamentally different way to approach to the business and present what the lottery is to the marketplace than what has been followed here,” Perlee said.

Fixing this dynamic should be the key job of any new private manager given this new and lucrative state contract. A 10-year analysis of Illinois lottery records conducted by the Chicago Reporter in 2007 found that low-income Chicago communities generated the highest lottery sales in the state. Too often, the lottery serves as a quasi-regressive tax on poor players who substitute the game for more expensive entertainment forms or see it as a rare opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty. If the program is to expand, that has to change.

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
4:55pm
Thu Sep 9, 2010

How Should We Close That State Deficit, Mr. Kirk?

U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk may be running for the U.S. Senate, but he sure has a lot of opinions about state government. When the North Shore Republican launched his campaign last year, a major theme he hit on was rooting out corruption in Illinois, a task we thought might be difficult to tackle for a pol stationed in Washington. Today, Kirk released a new ad criticizing Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias for his thoughts on Illinois' budget deficit. "Quinn and Giannoulias agree," the ad begins. "Your taxes should go up." Watch it:

If Kirk is going to use Illinois' income tax rate as a talking point throughout the fall, it seems fair for reporters to ask the "deficit hawk" how he would close the state's deficit without raising new revenue. If his answer is good, perhaps Bill Brady can learn a thing or two from his fellow statewide nominee.

PI Original
by Micah Maidenberg
11:37am
Wed Sep 8, 2010

Converting Foreclosures Into Affordable Housing With TIF (VIDEO)

A new report finds that federal resources to address the home foreclosure crisis aren't commensurate with the need and argues for using Chicago's TIF dollars to convert foreclosed properties into affordable housing.

PI Original
by Adam Doster
1:16pm
Tue Aug 31, 2010

Is Brady's Jobs Agenda Bad For Illinois' Economy?

GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady has a gameplan for attracting 700,000 new jobs to Illinois. Will it work?

Quick Hit
by Micah Maidenberg
10:26am
Mon Aug 30, 2010

Fritchey To Run For Mayor?

Over the last few months, State Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) has emerged as the leading state legislator calling for a new approach to the City of Chicago's tax increment financing program. He has introduced legislation in the General Assembly that would send unused TIF dollars back to various government agencies at the end of each fiscal year, a move that would erode Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's control over the TIF districts and the money they contain. The Board of Education alone could get some $535 million if the proposal was passed out of Springfield and signed into law, Fritchey says.

A story published today by the Chicago News Cooperative says that the North Side representative is now mulling more than reform of Daley's TIF empire. Fritchey, the News Cooperative reports, has "added his name to the list of politicians who say they are considering challenging" the mayor in the Feb. 22, 2011 municipal primary election. Fritchey had this to say about the mayor's style:

People want intelligent debate on decent proposals. They are tired of being told, ‘This is what we are doing, here is the deal, take it or leave it.’ It’s healthy to offer competing alternatives and ideas. Not every proposed idea has to be seen as a challenge to his authority, but that has been the case.

But Fritchey, who is presently campaigning for a seat on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, says he's only considering the idea -- he'd only run for mayor "if I felt there was a broad core of support out there." Similarly, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), who recently called Daley a "horrible manager" of taxpayer funds, is tacking toward a re-election bid to city council, as is Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd), also much discussed in recent weeks as a mayoral candidate.