State Sen. Sue Rezin, State Reps. Ron Sandack, Dennis Reboletti, State Sen. Matt Murphy, State Rep. Ed Sullivan and State Sen. Pamela Althoff
SPRINGFIELD - Tuesday, Republican House member Dennis Reboletti called for voters to have a say in whether the 2011 state income tax increase should remain permanent or sunset at the end of 2014.
Several Republican General Assembly members stood with Reboletti to support his effort, saying the Democrats have purposely cut Republicans out of budget talks - leaving their constituents with no voice in how taxpayer funds will be spent in 2015.
"We all here have been cut out of the [budget] process," Reboletti said. "We're going to ask the people to be citizen soldiers and join us in the fight. And if they think their voice isn't being heard by the majority, they will have the opportunity to step up and cast a vote."
The way the budget bills were presented last week gave a false impression that without the tax hike, that draconian cuts would need to take place in services to the disabled and needy, State Senator Matt Murphy said. The money is there to fully fund the budget and not eviserate core services if the tax hike rolls down.
The fact is the Democrats want to raise the taxes, and they're going to do it, Murphy said. "Make no mistake, they don't need a tax hike to fund core services."
An advisory referendum would be a crystal clear statement from the people, Murphy said. "It's time to give the people their say on this topic, " he said. "If the Democrats vote to extend the tax hike now, and the people say 'we didn't want you to do that,' with Rep. Reboletti's bill in the fall, that would be a pretty big repudiation."
Rep. Ron Sandack pointed out that there are already several referenda on the November ballot, and one more asking the people their opinion on the tax hike is reasonable. A simple majority vote in both chambers before the legislature adjourns next week would put the question before voters.