Exactly two years have passed since the legislative majority party – on its own - passed a 67 percent tax increase on individuals and 46 percent for businesses. At the time, the estimated revenue was slightly more than $7 billion, however; those revenues have not kept pace with spending and Illinois fiscal woes continue.
Illinois’ families and businesses continue to struggle. Our state lags behind the national unemployment and recovery numbers, which could at best be described as tepid. Job creators within our state are less likely to expand their current operations because they are afraid of having even more taxed levied on them.
Recent admissions by the ruling-Democrats could signal an attempt that yet another round of tax increases are on the way. This is not intended to scare the public, but to serve as a warning. By his own words, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) has said that Illinois should begin taxing services and look at other means of “tax fairness.”
As I write this opinion piece, there are less than 40 pieces of legislation that have been submitted for consideration by the Illinois Senate. Not surprisingly, a number of these are shell bills that are avenues to raise taxes or spend even more money the state does not have.
Just two days ago, I was sworn into office for another term in the Senate and a serious realization that some of my legislative colleagues have not been as focused on the state finances as they should be. During the last Veto Session, a Chicago-area representative submitted legislation to borrow another $4 billion and State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka testified against the bill, which led to its defeat.
I am prepared to join with fellow Senators and Representatives to find real, lasting solutions to our state’s fiscal issues. The public is growing tired of excuses. The four legislative leaders must come to the table with real proposals or allow rank-and-file legislators like myself to act on bills.
We keep seeing the same tired refrain of “tax, borrow and spend.” When will other legislators learn? Illinois is saddled with $160 billion in long and short-term debts and a $9 billion in unpaid backlog of bills. The spending must stop!
People are tired of reading about the state’s terrible track record of paying its bills and incurring debt, but until a complete collapse occurs, I doubt much will change.