SPRINGFIELD - Weary taxpayers are tired of working hard to pay taxes when at the state level, both Republican and Democrat lawmakers are considering how they can get more revenue for state-funded programs, agencies and projects - and yes, even pay long overdue bills.
At the federal level, the Republican majority in Congress is debating just how much they will cut taxes while at the state level, the Democrat majority is winning support from the Republican minority leadership on just how high they will raise state taxes on income taxes and sweetened drinks.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) has been touring editorial boards with Senate President John Cullerton, outlining their plans to tap state lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to support a grand compromise - including, perhaps, some type of workers comp reform in exchange for the new taxes.
State Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) told Illinois Review he absolutely will not support an income tax hike.
"Absolutely not. I am fighting to kill this bill," McCarter said in an email. "We should not repeat history and cause hundreds of thousands of taxpayers to leave Illinois."
State Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) wasn't as solid in his response to Illinois Review's query about whether he would vote for a state income tax hike.
"Not without much more significant reforms such as term limits for all legislators, redistricting reform and pension reform (probably need a constitutional amendment) as well as significant spending cuts," Oberweis said. "The proposed workman's comp reform might be a compromise."
McCarter and Oberweis, along with four other Republican lawmakers, signed the American Tax Reform pledge that they would not support a tax hike. Other GOP senators that signed on include Dave Syverson (R-Rockford), Tim Bivins (R-Dixon), Sue Rezin (R-Morris) and Bill Brady (R-Bloomington).
Senate Democrats maintain a super-majority in the Illinois Senate, and would be able to pass a tax hike to the Illinois House without a Republican vote. However, Democrats have historically worked to get one or two Republicans to cross party lines on tax hikes so they are not solely to blame.
In addition to the income tax hike, there's a growing acceptance of a one cent per ounce of sugared drinks throughout the state of Illinois. In Cook County, the tax would be added onto the one cent per ounce tax on sweetened drinks set to start in July.
GOP Governor Rauner has not ruled out signing the tax hikes into law.
The Illinois State Senate started debating the income tax hike Tuesday at the State Capitol. But recent reports indicated legislators may go even higher - to a 40 percent increase - up to a possible 5.25%. They may vote on this proposal by Wednesday.
They are also planning to hike the corporate income tax to 9.5% (including the state's 2.5% personal property replacement tax), which would give Illinois the fourth-highest corporate income tax rate in the entire nation.