Now that the General Assembly has taken up pension "reform," we wondered this morning if lawmakers would finally muster the political courage to begin reforming Illinois' regressive tax system. For evidence of how inequitable the tax burden has grown, look no further than the lawsuit filed by Business and Professional People for the Public Interest yesterday, which highlights the difficulties property-poor communities face as they struggle to fund their local schools despite paying the highest tax rates around.
As the House sponsor of HB 174, State Rep. David Miller (D-Dolton) has been pushing for a solution that would both lift the tax burden on low- and moderate-income households (as well as property owners) and generate enough new revenue to close the operating deficit and eventually meet the state's education funding goals. Today, we caught up with the south suburban Democrat and he told us that the latest lawsuit certainly does "put pressure on the General Assembly." What's likely to push lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to spring into action sooner, however, is public outrage over proposed education cuts."I'm not sure inaction is going to play politically in either party's favor," Miller said. "People want to see solutions."