CHICAGO - Four years ago, Illinois taxpayers were told that the state's finances were so badly in arrears that all that could salvage the mess was a short-term revenue jolt. Mom and pop drug stores, small town doctors and private nursing home owners were mortgaging their homes to front business costs and salaries while they waited months for the state to pay stacks of unpaid invoices.
The situation worsened until lawmakers were backed into a corner on a state income tax hike. The only way they could sooth irate constituents was to promise the 67% income tax hike would sunset in 2015. But the spending increased and bills weren't caught up. Now Illinois finances aren't significantly better, despite state's cash windfall.
The Illinois legislature is now deciding whether they'll make that 2011 temporary tax hike permanent. The Governor said he's all for leaving things as they are, because, after all, Illinois is still nearly $6 billion behind on their bills despite the $31 billion they pulled in from the 2011 tax hike.
Indeed, the Democrats are proposing even more tax hikes in addition to making the 2011 tax hike permanent. The variety of tax hikes proposed by Democrat lawmakers has become a major campaign issue for the November statewide elections.
IL GOP's candidate for state treasurer Tom Cross set up a protest website this week, calling on taxpayers to declare their opposition to making the tax hike permanent.
“Three years after the Quinn/Frerichs 67 percent income tax increase, incomes have shrunk, poverty rates are up, job opportunities are fewer, taxes are higher, but education funding is lower and our bills are still unpaid,” Cross said Wednesday. “In fact, last year alone, taxpayers paid over $318 million in late payment fees for our unpaid bills.”
Cross had nearly 400 petition signatures within hours of the website unveiling Wednesday.
"Quinn and Frerichs are making Illinois go from bad to worse,” said Cross. “We need to turn Illinois around and that starts with holding the line on taxes, balancing our budget, and cracking down on fraud and corruption.”
Cross asks for petition signatures at www.stopthetaxhikeil.com