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Taxes
PI Original
by Adam Doster
1:22pm
Mon May 24, 2010

Preserving Our Most Progressive Tax

Despite our flat income tax rate, Illinois does have some progressive elements -- most notably, our estate tax, which only affects the wealthiest local families.  But unless either Congress or the General Assembly takes action soon, we're going to forgo that revenue in 2010. 

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
4:11pm
Thu May 20, 2010

Preckwinkle's Sales Tax Consistency

Rich Miller makes an important point at Capitol Fax regarding Toni Preckwinkle's supposed flip-flop on her Cook County sales tax repeal pledge. Since the beginning of the campaign, the Chicago alderman has said she will eliminate the half-penny tax gradually. The reports yesterday don't seem to contradict her stated approach. More from a statement:

Since Feb. 2nd, we have put a lot of energy into trying to figure out what we are heading into. At this point, it has been suggested that we could be looking at a huge deficit next year. It would be irresponsible to cut resources without knowing more about the state of the County’s financial condition. I am committed to filling any budget gaps without burdening the people of Cook County.

As Cook County Board President, my focus from Day 1 will be implementing responsible spending practices, eliminating waste and inefficiencies, and looking for non-tax resources so that we can repeal the remainder of the sales tax.

PI Original
by Adam Doster
2:19pm
Wed May 19, 2010

A Teacher's Fight To Open Up Chicago's TIF Budget

A Chicago high school teacher is preparing to sue the city for refusing to answer inquiries about its tax increment financing budget.

PI Original
by Adam Doster
12:59pm
Tue May 18, 2010

What's Left To Debate In Springfield?

The state's spending plan isn't the only issue left on the agenda before lawmakers recess at the end of May. We run through some bills that are still pending.

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
9:06am
Tue May 18, 2010

HB 174 And The Business Climate

Chief Executive's annual "Best and Worst States for Business" list got a lot of play in the Illinois media last week because the magazine's survey of 651 CEOs ranked Illinois 46th in the nation in terms of "business friendliness." Rich Miller argued convincingly at the Capitol Fax yesterday that solving the state's budget crisis as soon as possible, thereby avoiding another year of instability regarding regulations and tax rates, would do a lot to calm the nerves of business owners.

Digging into the tax climate rankings might also provide some clues for how state lawmakers looking to attract new investment should proceed. While Illinois ranks 10th for its individual income tax rate and 27th for its corporate income tax rate, the CEOs were far less bullish on the state's property tax (39th) and sales tax (41st) climate. Comprehensive tax reform measures like HB 174 would lower the property tax burden and modernize the state's sales tax. In exchange, the General Assembly would (marginally) raise income taxes on individuals and businesses. That's a trade-off that might improve both the state's finances and its attractiveness to commerce.

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
10:51am
Fri May 14, 2010

Brady's Eliminations

In Aurora last night, Sen. Bill Brady threw some red meat to the roughly 200 conservative supporters who came out for the annual Lincoln Day Reception. The Beacon-News was there:

On Thursday, Brady told those attending the annual Aurora Township Republicans Lincoln Day Reception that he plans to reduce the tax burden in Illinois by eliminating the gasoline sales tax and the estate penalty tax and ending the pension system.

Since Brady has not released a coherent budget plan, it's unclear how he would pay for these tax cuts. What is clear is the loss in revenue the state would experience next year as a result. Eliminating the estate tax would cost Illinois roughly $250 million annually and zeroing out the 6.25 percent sales tax on gasoline purchases would set our budget back another $350 million (PDF).

Then again, it's hard to know exactly what Brady means when he used the term "eliminate" ...

PI Original
by Adam Doster
10:35am
Fri May 14, 2010

Dowell: "We Really Need To Look At This Whole TIF Issue" (VIDEO)

After the excitement of last year's TIF reform discussion, it had been a while since we'd heard aldermen take to the council floor to criticize the system. On Wednesday, they did just that.