The inevitable backlash against the Democrats' revenue package is ripping through the state. Virtually every editorial board in Illinois, bar the Sun-Times and the State Journal-Register, panned the move as irresponsible. Republicans under the capitol dome have already launched a quixotic effort to repeal the new law. One angry citizen even unveiled an online petition calling for the recall of Gov. Pat Quinn, who added his John Hancock to the legislation yesterday. (So far, 448 have signed the letter.)
While nobody likes to pay more taxes, let's be honest about what exactly we're dealing with here. For years, politicians from both parties have ignored a structural deficit that put an enormous strain on Illinois' human infrastructure and bond rating. The state's fiscal crisis intensified when the national economy bombed. This bill attempts to ameliorate those problems by raising taxes modestly. (And that's really all it does.) The change will burden some families, particularly low-income earners, but it will not send Illinois into a death spiral of job loss and out-migration.
This episode is also a sound reminder why it's probably a good thing that the state's new recall procedure is a bit cumbersome; if the chief executive could be tossed out of office easily just because some voters disagree with his or her policy positions, the legislative system could grind to a total halt.