Local Editorials

Our View: Reject plan for huge tax hikes

The Illinois Senate could vote as early as Wednesday on a budget bill supported by Democrats and even some Republicans, including Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno.

With lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner unable to come to terms on a full budget the past two fiscal years, some might consider that a good thing.

But then there are the details, which seem to be getting worse by the minute.

The Senate’s initial “compromise” budget proposed a 32 percent increase in the state’s income tax, from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. An individual who makes $50,000 annually would pay an additional $625 to the state a year under this proposal.

But new reports from Chicago and Springfield on Friday said an amended proposal would raise the rate to 5.25 percent, a whopping 40 percent increase. An individual who makes $50,000 annually would pay an additional $750 to the state under this proposal.

The latter proposal also would bring the state’s income tax to a higher level than former Gov. Pat Quinn’s 67 percent tax hike in 2011, which moved the rate from 3 percent to 5 percent before it scaled back to the current 3.75 percent in 2015. The current proposal does not have a provision to scale the increased income tax back.

In addition to the income tax increases, the Senate plan, which ties a series of bills together, calls for a corporate tax increase (from 5.25 percent to 7 percent), an increase in the minimum wage to $11, a two-year property tax freeze and some modest pension and workers’ compensation reforms.

We’ve got to hand it to Senate leaders; they don’t discriminate. Their proposal is equally bad for middle class wage earners and business owners.

“The Senate budget proposal is an absolute disaster,” Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said. “Raising the income tax rate by 32 percent, or even up to 40 percent, would crush taxpayers.

“We need to cut spending, not raises taxes. This would be the final nail in the coffin of the state of Illinois. ... We lost 115,000 people [to outmigration] last year. This will drive even more people out of the state. ...”

We urge state senators, including Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, and Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, to reject this plan.

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