Wednesday, July 5, 2017

“32 percent-ers” want to keep playing politics with the Illinois state budget

It seems our state’s Legislature has come to agreement on a spending plan for Illinois government, and also an increase in the state income tax rate to ensure there’s enough revenue to fulfill the state’s financial responsibilities.
RAUNER: Senate overrode his veto w/in minutes

Not that I’m about to offer up many rounds of “huzzahs!” for the Democrats who run the General Assembly.

I’M SURE THEY’RE going to claim to have made the incredibly difficult choice necessary to ensure that Illinois state government can start the process of returning to normal operations – a process that’s going to take a few years to complete.

But I find it pathetic to see Democrats now being so eager to vote to support an increase in the individual income tax rate to 4.95 percent. That’s the increase meant to raise some 32 percent more revenue for the government – which is why the conservative ideologues are going on and on with their rants that the income tax is being raised 32 percent.

Actually, the rate is being raised from 3.75 percent to the aforementioned 4.95 percent – retroactive to Saturday (the beginning of the current state fiscal year), while the corporate rate will go from 5.25 percent to 7 percent. Combined, they would produce about $5 billion more in revenue per year.

No matter how one wants to explain it, a 1.25 percent increase in the rate is not a 32 percent increase in the rate. It’s just a rant from people whose primary desire to cut state funding is to annihilate programs they’d rather not be bothered with.

SIMILAR TO THE line of logic that the outspoken anti-tax activist Grover Norquist espoused when he said he wanted to shrink government to a size small enough, “where we can drown it in a bathtub.”
How quickly will Dem leader pair ...

Meaning that I think the people who are going to offer up praise for Gov. Bruce Rauner for saying he’ll veto the General Assembly’s actions even if it means the budget stalemate continues are full of it for claiming that they’re against a 32 percent hike in the tax rate.

But I’m still not about to offer up undying praise for Democrats for doing this – largely because I can’t help but wonder why they couldn’t have done this a few years ago.

If they had expressed the political will to take this very same action two years ago, our political people would never have been in this position to begin with.
... offer up praise for themselves?

REMEMBER BACK TO the days when Pat Quinn was governor and the state enacted an increase in the state income tax rate that was set to expire in four years? But in his final months in office, Quinn wanted the Legislature to make the increase permanent.

Only the Democratic majority of the Legislature, which never really liked having to deal with Pat Quinn in the first place, felt compelled to stick it to him by doing nothing. Letting the increase wither away and creating the conditions that caused the new governor to feel compelled to fight it out with the General Assembly.

I don’t doubt that even if the General Assembly had given Quinn his final gubernatorial desire, Rauner still would have found excuses to take on the General Assembly. The man did come in with desires to undermine organized labor’s influence over state government, and that would not have gone away!

But Democrats now are willing to approve an increase in the income tax rate that they could have done years ago? I can’t help but think that somewhere, Quinn is smirking. I can hear the “I told you so” in my mind.

WHICH SCARES ME if I’m hearing Pat Quinn voices. It terrifies me almost as much as the potential for the financial harm that could befall the state of Illinois if action doesn’t occur soon – as in the coming days.
QUINN: Will he say 'told you so"

It didn't take long for Rauner to follow through with his threats to veto -- he did so on Tuesday. We'll now see if the General Assembly coalition of the Democratic majority and a few Republicans manages to hang together to allow for a gubernatorial override. The state Senate did vote to override within minutes of Rauner's rejection, while the Michael Madigan-led Illinois House held off on acting, for the time being.

I’m sure Rauner and his GOP acolytes will then claim this to be an entirely Democratic tax hike, and one in which they will try to place as much blame as possible leading up to the Nov. 6, 2018 statewide elections.

But the reality is that there has been enough juvenile behavior in the name of partisan politics to spread around to all the political parties. Anybody who goes on and on with claims of a “32 percent tax hike” is one who apparently favors the nonsense to continue, rather than trying to resume the concept of responsible governing for the people.


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