Another State Income Tax Hike Isn’t Compromise, It’s Suicide

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Chicago, IL – Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) delivered his third budget address to the Illinois General Assembly today, calling on legislators to embrace structural change to the state government and pass a balanced budget.
But taxpayers should prepare for a long fight over the state’s finances, said Jared Labell, executive director of Taxpayers United of America.
“Once again, politicians in Springfield have told taxpayers that they will strike a balance between tax increases and structural reforms to the state government to pass a balanced budget,” said Labell. “But if history is a guide, then taxpayers can bet that in Springfield, the word ‘compromise’ is synonymous with tax hikes.”
Rauner praised Senate President Cullerton (D) and Leader Radogno (R) for working together on the so-called “grand bargain,” which includes a multibillion state income tax increase.
“Senate President Cullerton, Leader Radogno and Senate lawmakers have shown tremendous leadership in bringing all parties together to find common ground on a combination of spending cuts, revenue, and changes that will create jobs and ensure long-term balanced budgets,” said Rauner. “Standing here three weeks ago, I encouraged them to keep working, to never give up. And they have done just that.”
The Senate’s current budget proposal calls for a permanent state income tax hike but only temporary property tax relief. Rauner said he could accept an increase in the state’s income tax rate if a permanent property tax freeze was adopted.
He also said he was open to “expand the state’s sales tax to cover everyday services and raise taxes on food and drugs” to mirror neighboring states, but Rauner cautioned that doing so, or creating a new state income tax on retirement income, would hurt lower-income families and seniors on a fixed income.
“Illinois is losing residents to states without income taxes, without mountains of government debt, and with more prosperous economies,” said Labell. “During the last income tax hike, Illinois lost a quarter of a million people from 2011 through 2014. Those who can afford to move will do so, while the taxpayers who remain in Illinois face steeper challenges.”
“The Civic Federation’s proposed $51 billion tax hike over the next six years is as laughable as Rauner’s comment to the Illinois General Assembly about not pointing fingers or assigning blame,” said Labell. “The legislators laughed, but they are to blame. Both parties. Decades of overspending, lavish government pensions, mounting debt, and burdensome taxes have crippled Illinois. If taxpayers want economic growth to return to the state, the first step is keeping our tax dollars out of the government coffers and in the private sector,” said Labell.
“Rauner was right to argue that change must come to Springfield and the operations of the state government, but compromising on a multibillion-dollar state income tax hike is economic suicide, not a strategy.”

Kill Illinois State Income Tax Hike in Senate Now

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Chicago, IL – Members of the Illinois Senate return to Springfield for three days this week to vote on the 12 bills forming the so-called “grand bargain” budget plan. Taxpayers United of America (TUA) urges Illinoisans to demand state senators VOTE NO and kill this legislation now.
“The backbone of this legislation is a multibillion dollar state income tax hike orchestrated by Senate President John Cullerton (D) and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno which far outweighs any minor benefits to taxpayers found in the remainder of the legislation. We urge state senators to vote against the entire package,” said Jared Labell, executive director of TUA.
“Taxpayers are outraged, and understandably so. For decades, compromise in Illinois has meant a growing tax burden for Illinois residents, while politicians across the state and in Springfield conduct business as usual,” said Labell. “The Cullerton-Radogno multibillion dollar state income tax increase is out of the question for taxpayers, who are rightfully disgusted with Springfield.”
“TUA warned against the ‘grand bargain’ budget plan a couple days before Gov. Rauner’s (R) State of the State address. Legislators clearly heard our message on behalf of our members and taxpayers, temporarily halting the Cullerton-Radogno state income tax hike,” said Labell.
But now some Republican Senators are surrendering to government pensioners, government unions, and current government employees to support the disastrous Cullerton-Radogno multibillion dollar state income tax hike.
State Senator Dave Syverson of Rockford defended the Cullerton-Radogno state income tax hike after Gov. Rauner’s annual State of the State address. “While I do not like raising any taxes this latest proposal would keep the new tax at or below where it was before the last tax expired,” Syverson wrote.
Republican state Sens. Chris Nybo of Lombard and Karen McConnaughay of West Dundee joined Democratic state Sens. Kwame Raoul and Heather Steans of Chicago to support the state income tax hike on Chicago Tonight February 1.
And of course, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno has spearheaded this unnecessary income tax increase, telling taxpayers, “Unfortunately, our fiscal situation is so dire that it is unrealistic to think we can ‘cut’ our way out of it.”
Unlike those legislators, Republican State Senator Kyle McCarter of Lebanon received the highest rating of any of his senate colleagues on TUA’s last biennial tax survey of the Illinois General Assembly, and he continues to fight for taxpayers in Springfield and oppose this legislation.
Tax hikes are not inevitable if systemic changes are made to the operations of Illinois’ state government, yet this budget plan accomplishes nothing but guarantee the Cullerton-Radogno multibillion state income tax increase will further cripple Illinois’ economy and the finances of taxpayers.
State Sen. Dave Syverson of Rockford
(217) 782-5413 and (815) 987-7555
State Sen. Chris Nybo of Lombard
(217) 782-6578 and (630) 519-3652
State Sen. Karen McConnaughay of West Dundee
(217) 782-1977 and (847) 214-8245
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont:
(217) 782-9407 and (630) 243-0800
Find your legislators here and contact them today!

Tightening of 'part-timers' pension eligibility seen as positive by taxpayers' advocate, but only 'tinkers' with big problem

TUA’s executive director, Jared Labell, was interviewed by Shanice Harris of the Madison – St. Clair Record last week. They discussed changes Madison County board members  made to the number of work hours needed for county workers to stake a claim in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

A taxpayers’ advocate sees a recent decision that increases the minimum number of hours that Madison County employees must work in order to be eligible for pension benefits as a positive move, but one that only “tinkers” with a more profound problem.
Last month board members changed the number of work hours needed from 600 per year to 1,000 per year in order for county workers to stake a claim in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.
“The recent change by the Madison County Board is a good move for taxpayers, but raising county employees’ minimum number of work hours to collect IMRF pensions is merely tinkering on the edges of a much broader problem,” Jared Labell of Taxpayers United of America told the Record. “Defined benefit government pensions are unsustainable.”
County employees previously received IMRF pension for working approximately 12 hours a week, but because of this change, the hours have increased to a minimum of 20 hours of work. The change won’t affect current employees, but will apply to new hires.
“Employees currently working 600 hours a year at a minimum won’t be required to work additional hours to remain in IMRF, so the changes only affect new hires and not existing county employees,” Labell said.
Other counties across Illinois are also increasing the amount of hours an employee is required to work before receiving their benefits. But, according to Labell, the pensions promised to government workers are overly lavish and unfair to taxpayers.
“To receive pensions for as little as 12- or 20-hour work weeks is astonishing. If government employees are to receive pensions, taxpayers should expect these individuals to at least work full-time,” Labell said.
“Taxpayers are struggling under numerous tax burdens in this state. Income taxes, local taxes, and rising property taxes are all tied to the broader government pension problem in Illinois. IMRF is funded through local property tax increases and taxpayers should demand more accountability with their hard-earned money.”
The TUA has advocated for at least offering state workers the option of moving into 401(k) plans, which has been met with fierce opposition by state labor groups.



Taxpayers United Of America: (TUA). is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(4) taxpayer advocacy group. Founded June 27, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois by activist and economist Jim Tobin, TUA works on behalf of taxpayers to reduce local, state, and federal taxes. In the past forty years, TUA has saved taxpayers more than $200 billion n taxes and has become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America. Check All posts. s.


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