The Beatles’ “Taxman,” must have been the only song to have ever been listened to by House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and Governor Pat Quinn, because talk of a “progressive” tax is heating up.
The stanza of “Taxman” goes like this: “If you drive a car, I'll tax the street. If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat. If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat. If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.”
License plates rose slightly in price, public transportation fares have risen and Illinois even does a pretty good job of taxing heating oils and electricity. Even worse yet is that Representative Will Davis wanted to institute a $.25 shoe tax on sneakers just last year. Be prepared, his tax legislation, House Bill 978, is still alive.
Obviously a “tongue-in-cheek,” jab at the legislative majorities, but Illinois’ job creation predictions are abysmal. Essentially the same cast of characters took over the running of state government in 2003 and the fiscal situation has deteriorated so badly that even after bringing in an additional $26 billion since the 2011 tax increase, Illinois still has a $9 billion backlog of bills.
The idea of a progressive income tax only puts pressure on the decreasing middle-class because instead of a flat tax rate of five percent, the Democrats would like you to pay “more of your fair share.” As they begin to float their plans, absent is the talk of reducing property taxes, motor fuel taxes, sales tax or and, most importantly, reducing spending.
Illinoisans need a break from the constant talk of increased taxes or fees; we are all a little tired of a smaller pocketbook. Almost exactly three years ago, the legislative majorities promised that the 67 percent personal income and 45 percent business tax rates would be “temporary.” The language of these tax increases being “temporary” has all but vanished from the vocabulary of Madigan, Cullerton, Quinn and their legislative allies.
Government does goofy things like in 2012 when at the time only 18 vehicles could use a “quick charge” electric refueling station, but Chicago had 26 stations alone. At that time the number of stations was supposed to expand to 74 at an Illinois taxpayer cost of $1.9 million.
The General Assembly resumes session in three weeks and nearly all of the talk will be on the budget and tax rates. I will do everything in my power to argue against making the 2011 tax increase permanent and adding a useful dialogue about how we reduce Illinois spending.