Editorials

Trust a state lawmaker to best know how to spend your $1,205

Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, listens during the overtime session at the state Capitol. His quorum is expected to return Thursday afternoon, with a tax hike, unbalanced budget and no reforms.
Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, listens during the overtime session at the state Capitol. His quorum is expected to return Thursday afternoon, with a tax hike, unbalanced budget and no reforms. AP

If you are the average metro-east family of two parents and two kids, Illinois by the end of Thursday is expected to hand you a bill for $1,205. That is the extra you will pay on your $100,935 income when they increase the state income tax rate from 3.75 to 4.95 percent.

And they will increase the tax rate. Expect the pain after they assemble at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Springfield, after two days of failing to draw a quorum and after they’ve wrangled the needed Democrats and turncoat Republicans.

Illinoisans sent Rauner to Springfield why?

Illinois lawmakers and Rauner waged this war, laying waste to our state colleges, social services and finances in battles stretching into a third fiscal year for what?

So we could get to this point of exactly where?

To the point that Missouri’s state treasurer is laughing at us and planning his own state’s renaissance by doing exactly what we sent Rauner to Springfield to do. Missouri is improving the business climate and drawing jobs — jobs that will come more from this second-most populated corner of the state than any other.

To the point that the Wall Street Journal is using Illinois as the prime example of the failed progressive experiment, controlled by the public employee unions, for the benefit of the public employee unions. They cite Margaret Thatcher’s summation that the problem with progressive government is you eventually run out of other people’s money.

None of the 44 points of Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda” have survived. Not even the Illinois Senate’s “grand bargain” reforms to property tax, workers comp or legislative terms still exist. Even with another $5 billion from all of us, this first budget in three years is still $2 billion in the red.

All that survived is the months-old proposed income tax hike to 4.95 percent — not even an honest 5 percent — that will take another $5 billion out of the state’s economy and encourage more millennials and more of the well-off to move. An income tax hike that will further retard Illinois’ economic recovery when every single one of our neighbors is seeing recession recovery and healthy economic growth.

What will state lawmakers do with that $1,205 that they think they would put to better use than you? The same thing they did the last time they hiked your income tax between 2011 and 2014 to dig out of the financial mess into which they’d spent themselves. They collected $32 billion extra, and only reduced the unpaid bill pile by $2 billion.

There is a quote ascribed to a former Illinois lawmaker: “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

Or can you?

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