Friday, December 11, 2015

Couldn’t we have done “5 percent” last year and never created problem at all?

Excuse me for not thinking much of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s talk this week that a good first step toward resolving Illinois government’s financial problems is to restore the income tax rate to that interim level we had for four years under then-Gov. Pat Quinn.

You know, the one that had personal income tax rates at 5 percent and corporate at 7 percent – which was enacted in 2011 as a four-year temporary plan that disappeared at the end of 2014.

OF COURSE, QUINN wanted the Democrat-dominated General Assembly to impose a measure at the end of last year that would have extended that higher rate – rather than letting it sink back.

Which is a significant part of the reason we have a financial problem. There isn’t enough money coming in to cover the state’s financial obligations. To put it in the speak of the professional gamblers, Illinois isn’t covering its “nut.”

As in we’re not producing the bare amount of money needed to survive.

Which wouldn’t be bad if the state under Gov. Bruce Rauner had somehow committed to reducing its expenses to keep in line with the level of money that is coming in.

BUT INSTEAD, THE Rauner administration has been more committed to trying to undermine organized labor rather than produce a real budget. Which is why we have some state agencies continuing to spend money at rates we don’t have.

MADIGAN: Now backs 5 percent
Now I have dished out more than my share of blame to Rauner and his ideologue aides who I think really don’t care much about any long-term damage to the state so long as they can impose their restrictions on labor unions. I’m not the least bit sorry for anything I may have written against them during the past five months.

But learning that Madigan offered up a return to the income tax rate of 2011-14 as something of a solution just strikes me as hypocritical.

RAUNER: His 'veto' pen ready!
Let’s not forget that Quinn desperately wanted that rate kept in place and wanted his final veto session as governor to consist of having legislators impose the change in the days when they still had domination over the entire legislative process – and not just the state Legislature itself.

QUINN: Off snickering somewhere?
IT COULD HAVE been voted for by the Democratic supermajority General Assembly then signed into law by Quinn – and the Republican partisans would have only been able to sputter and choke and rant and rage.

But not do anything about it!

Instead, we had Democrats who always thought Quinn was more interested in himself rather than their concerns thinking they saw no reason to rush into action. They did nothing, which is what caused the conditions that led to the ongoing partisan stalemate and lack of a budget.

Which isn’t likely to go away soon. Because we’re rapidly reaching the point where it would be a waste of effort to put together a budget for fiscal 2016. Come March, work will begin on the Fiscal ’17 budget – which will be complicated all the more by the fact that nothing exists for the current fiscal year.

LARGELY BECAUSE DEMOCRATS in the General Assembly felt compelled to give Pat Quinn a final kick in the pants to remind him that he may have reached the level of governor – but he was still that pain-in-the-butt gadfly who was always taking pot shots at them on so many issues.

Dank and dreary is the Statehouse 'mood' these days
They taught Quinn who the real “boss” of Illinois government was. Yes they did.

Which is why it comes across as hypocritical of them to now suggest that maybe we should do something that Quinn would have had them do all along – and that would have averted the mess we’re now in.

For all the people who are complaining about the need to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel, personally I’m more anxiously awaiting the 2018 election cycle so we can have a shot at replacing the state leadership – which likely is the only way that situation will improve for the long term.


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