Monday, May 5, 2014

Money has to come from somewhere to maintain state government services

It’s going to get interesting to see how much the rhetoric gets ratcheted up in coming weeks with regards to the state’s income tax.

QUINN: Doing right, if unpopular, thing?
That’s the one that got increased a few years ago, with the concept written into the language of the law that it was an increase ceasing to exist at the end of 2014.

MEANING, IF THE General Assembly and Gov. Pat Quinn don’t do something specific to extend the life of the increase, the income tax will revert back to its previous level (5 percent to 3 percent – remember the infamous “67 percent tax hike” talk).

Of course, there have been many occasions in the past where “temporary” tax hikes became permanent, or at least extended for another length of time.

As I have written before, I fully expected this particular tax increase would become permanent. I never expected the Legislature to allow it to wither away with inaction. I’m braced for this particular tax hike.

Even though the conservative ideologues are trying to make an issue by campaigning for allowing the increase to wither away. And Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, has said he does not right now have enough votes in the House to actually approve a bill that extends the life of the income tax increase.

WHICH IS WHY we’re getting the rhetoric from government types who want the increase to remain in place.

I still have my copy of a list from the Illinois Senate Democrats telling me exactly how much money each public school district would lose in state aid – IF the state budget suddenly took a big hit financially.

WHITE: No more renewal notices?!?
Get the educators convinced they’re about to lose even more in state funding than they’ve already been getting cut in recent years, and you can be assured they will be a faithful force in favor of persuading legislators to vote “aye” on a measure related to maintaining the income tax at its current level.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White last week added to the talk by telling how he’d have to cut the number of facilities where one can get, or renew a driver’s license.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, HE’D also have to cut back on those notices his office sends out each year to remind people that the license plates on their cars need to be renewed.

OGILVIE: Quinn hopes to avoid fate
Along with the notices every four years telling them their driver’s licenses are about to expire.

Personally, I’d like to think that’s something people ought to keep track of on their own. Although I’m sure some will gripe that without such a notice, they can’t be expected to know on their own when they have to renew.

Will we suddenly get an increase in the number of people with expired license plates or driver’s licenses who will complain that “It’s not my fault!” when they get pulled over by police and ticketed?

I’M NOT SURE how this issue is going to be resolved – other than to know that by month’s end it will be over.

A part of me believes that the Democratic Party leadership that runs both the Illinois House and state Senate will manage to use their power to persuade/pressure/twist the arms of legislators to approve the income tax continuation – which is desired by Quinn.

Which is all the reason why Republicans will spew the rhetoric – if they can derail a Quinn desire, they can make him look weak and ineffectual. And if they can’t, they will try tagging him as the guy who got both an income tax hike AND a property tax hike in Chicago!

Bringing back memories of Bill Ogilvie – the one-time governor who lost his re-election bid for having the nerve to do the right thing in creating the desperately-needed state income tax to begin with.


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