Learn More Open the Books

Suburban Democrats Wary of 75% Income Tax Hike

From the Daily Herald– front page article…

Former GOP primary governor candidate Adam Andrzejewski even threatened retribution at the polls if any Republican lawmakers supported the tax increase.

“If a Republican votes to hike our taxes, they need a primary challenge,” he wrote in a message to supporters.

SPRINGFIELD — A day after top leaders in Springfield announced the tax-increase plan they’ll ask lawmakers to vote on, some suburban Democrats whose support is critical to the plan’s success are saying they’re not big fans.

The plan would, among other things, raise the income tax rate by 75 percent for the next four years.

“I’m not on board,” said Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, an Aurora Democrat.

Some Democrats’ disapproval of the proposal casts a shadow over it because Republicans already have loudly opposed increasing taxes and likely won’t be changing their minds. The plan to raise income taxes to 5.25 percent from 3 percent marks a bigger increase than previous proposals by Quinn and lawmakers.

Democratic Rep. Keith Farnham of Elgin Democrat said raising taxes soon would take the pressure off lawmakers to try to first lessen the state’s budget crisis via spending reforms.

He didn’t commit to voting against the plan, which would provide many homeowners with $325 yearly checks to help with their property tax bills and would raise the taxes on a pack of cigarettes by $1 per pack. But, Farnham said, he “probably wouldn’t if it didn’t change before a vote was taken.”

“I still would like to see more reforms in government,” Farnham said.

The corporate income tax rate also would increase to 8.4 percent from 4.8 percent, an aspect of the proposal that Democratic Rep. Mark Walker said has been overlooked in early discussions.

“I don’t want to have a situation where we discourage jobs in Illinois,” the Arlington Heights Democrat said. “I don’t know what to say about it other than it is a bad move.”

And Rep. Fred Crespo, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, called the property tax relief part of the plan a “big, big joke.”

The House left Springfield before 11 a.m. Friday and will return Sunday afternoon. The new term of the General Assembly begins Wednesday, and all legislation has to start from scratch after that. So pressure is building for tax-hike supporters.

Gov. Pat Quinn met with individual legislators in his office to lobby for the proposal. House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, also contacted lawmakers in advance of a vote. Madigan is legendary for his ability to round up votes through persuasion and intimidation.

One of his top lieutenants on budget issues, Rep. Frank Mautino of Spring Valley, acknowledged the tax proposal didn’t have enough support to pass on Friday. That will change now that the behind-the-scenes wrangling has begun in earnest, he said.

“This was the official kick-off,” Mautino said. “I think it will pass.”

While Democrats hold majorities in both the House and Senate, finding approval for the plan without the aid of suburban Democrats could still be especially difficult because Republicans might not be eager to help.

And the Illinois Republican Party started an online petition intended to oppose the plan. Doing so was the crux of many GOP campaigns in the recent election.

“We will not let the Democrats drive business out of Illinois and all of the jobs that go with it,” party Chairman Pat Brady said in a statement.

Former GOP primary governor candidate Adam Andrzejewski even threatened retribution at the polls if any Republican lawmakers supported the tax increase.

“If a Republican votes to hike our taxes, they need a primary challenge,” he wrote in a message to supporters.

The new taxes would, among other things, be used to pay off $8 billion in loans. The money borrowed would be used to immediately pay off the state’s growing piles of unpaid bills. Parts of the increase would also be earmarked for schools.

Senate President John Cullerton on Thursday evening laid out the deal made by Quinn and other top Democrats.

After four years, the income tax rate would roll back to 3.75 percent, still an increase over the current rate. On spending, there would be a moratorium on new programs for the time being and a cap on overall state spending.

Cullerton cautioned that details of the plans could change, but that the Illinois House could take a vote on the plan perhaps on Sunday. If approved by the House, the plan would go to the Senate for a vote.


Leave a Comment


No Responses to "Suburban Democrats Wary of 75% Income Tax Hike"


No comments yet