There is usually a key issue, event or situation that motivates people to get engaged in our political system. For me that happened in 2007 when then Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposed a new tax on business revenues that he called a Gross Receipts Tax, or GRT.
The governor said it was all about “Illinois Tax Fairness,” but it quickly became apparent that if the GRT tax passed, it would drive small businesses out of the state. As a small business owner myself I was so outraged and concerned about the $7 billion tax plan that I had no other option than to get politically active. Together, with thousands of other small business owners from across the state, we fought the GRT tax plan and defeated it.
History is repeating itself and the “tax fairness” mantra from Springfield is back. This time it is coming from the Illinois Senate Democratic leaders. They are proposing a progressive income tax that would replace our current flat tax rate structure. The new proposed progressive tax would mandate that “higher rates apply to higher income levels.” This supposed tax on the wealthy would be more devastating to businesses than the GRT tax.
Illinois small businesses, which generate the majority of new jobs in this state, are still reeling from the “temporary” 67-percent income tax increase the Democratic leaders pushed through in January 2011. Since that date, our pension debt has grown significantly and our stack of unpaid bills can reach the top of the capitol dome; yet, Springfield Democratic leaders have refused to make any significant government spending cuts.
Each year since the tax hike, they have increased the budget instead of cutting the waste. At this pace it is impossible for their 67 percent tax increase to expire in 2015 as they promised. Proposing this progressive income tax now not only hurts companies currently in Illinois, but it will also scare away prospective Illinois employers.
If there was ever a time to get engaged in our political system, it is now. Do not let this new tax pass.
When an individual, family or business is successful in Illinois that helps our entire state. Individuals and small businesses use their profits at local shops and on local contractors to hire new employees and to expand their companies. Unfairly taxing them to feed our state government spending addiction will only put us on a destructive path of no return.
The proposed progressive income tax would kill the last remaining jobs we have left in this state. Please start sounding the alarm, get informed, get engaged and take action.
State Sen. Dan Duffy of R-Lake Barrington is pictured above with his wife and children.