Local Editorials

Our view: Tax hike plan just another job killer

Speaker Michael Madigan’s “millionaire tax” proposal passed out of the House Revenue Committee on Thursday, 6-4 across straight party lines, providing further evidence that Democrats in the General Assembly just don’t get it.

Madigan proposes a constitutional amendment to allow for a 3 percent surcharge on annual income over $1 million, with the additional revenue going toward education. If the powerful, Democratic House Speaker gets his way, voters will be asked on the Nov. 4 ballot to change the state Constitution to allow the tax.

Never mind that the proposal is as much a political attack against Bruce Rauner as it is bad policy. Rauner, a self-made millionaire, was nominated by Republicans to run against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in November. Madigan announced the surcharge just days after the primary. If you want to take shots at a political challenger, buy an ad. Don’t try to change the Constitution.

But more importantly, Illinois’ unemployment rate is 8.7 percent, tied with Nevada for the second highest in the U.S. And if approved, this bill will send the rate skyrocketing.

In fact, 82 percent of the 13,675 individual Illinois returns filed with income over $1 million in tax year 2011 are small businesses, according to an analysis of Illinois Department of Revenue data compiled by House Republicans.

“It seems that some people aren’t satisfied with Illinois’ embarrassing rate of out-migration, they want to amend the Constitution to drive even more employers out of the state,” state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said. “Make no mistake about this job-killing legislation. It would hurt small business owners that pay taxes at the individual income tax rate.”

Besides that, who in their right minds thinks Illinois state government needs more of our money?

And who in their right minds trusts Illinois state government to do anything other than waste it?

The state’s workforce – non-millionaires and millionaires alike – already are losing about a week’s worth of pay annually after a cowardly, lame-duck General Assembly approved a “temporary,” 67 percent income tax increase in the middle of the night in January 2011.

Part of that “temporary” increase was to be rolled back at the end of this year, after the additional revenue was used to pay down the state’s bills and get Illinois back on solid financial footing.

What a whopper of a lie that turned out to be.

Turns out almost all of that revenue has gone to the black hole that is the state’s failing pension systems – systems that Quinn, Madigan and the General Assembly knew were on their way to insolvency years ago yet did nothing.

Because of their ineptitude, Quinn last week had the gall to tell state taxpayers that he was recommending the “temporary” increase become permanent.

As if that wasn’t the plan all along.

Our state’s leaders are afflicted with the delusion that Springfield needs more money, that somehow they can tax their way out of our state’s financial mess. The problem isn’t that we need more money, it’s that our elected officials haven’t taken steps to create the government we can afford.

Every new tax lawmakers try to institute delays that reckoning. They must not be allowed to delay it any longer.

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