From Kristina Rasmussen, Illinois Policy Institute -
Both Gov. Quinn’s budget proposal and the House budget resolution called for a $2.7 billion reduction in Medicaid liabilities. Similarly, the governor and the General Assembly have committed to reducing the tax burden for working families.
Yet Gov. Quinn’s recently released Medicaid plan does not meet either goal. The governor identified only $2 billion in Medicaid spending reductions, the bulk of which is steep provider cuts. Unbelievably, he then called for additional tax hikes to raise $700 million in new revenue ($350 million from a tobacco tax hike and a $350 million federal “match” to be added to the national debt). This is without a doubt a tax hike on Illinois’ working class – the average smoker’s household income is under $36,000 a year.
A tax hike is not a reduction in accrued obligations. It is not reform. It is more taxing and more spending, plain and simple.
Members of the General Assembly who reject the harmful “tax and spend” habits of the past have good reason to reject this plan. Falling short on spending reforms while hiking taxes on Illinois’ poor and disadvantaged is not a winning combination.
A budget framework that rests upon this toxic combination should be put aside in favor of a plan that finally treats taxpayers with the respect they deserve.
Executive Vice President