Spending is Illinois' undoing

June 26, 2014 

In 2011 Illinois passed Gov. Pat Quinn's tax hike. Quinn stated: "We have some temporary tax increases that are designed to pay our bills, get Illinois back on fiscal sound footing and make sure that our state has a strong economy." Unfortunately, the $31 billion in extra revenue collected from Illinois taxpayers since then failed to solve the problem.

Instead, Quinn's upstate supermajority legislature used the new public revenues like an ATM machine. Although the taxes generated enough to pay off the $8.5 billion backlog of bills four times over, the backlog continues at $7 billion. Where did the money go?

Since Quinn's tax hike, Illinois' interest payments are now three and a half times higher. In the meantime, Illinois' credit rating decreased five times. (See Moody's, Standard and Poor's and Fitch's ratings).

Illinois tops many lists: second highest in unemployment at 7.8 percent, fourth highest in underemployment (16.1 percent) and boasts a poverty level of 14.5 percent, with 245,000 new people getting food stamps since 2011. Where are the jobs?

Given the failure to rein in spending, upstate politicians now hope to make the tax hikes permanent. Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, introduced the legislation, stating: "I don't think there's anyone in this building who doesn't believe we need to extend the income tax increase."

Question: Given Quinn's economic record. is it time for new governor?

Philip W. Chapman


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