Editorials

Look at your paycheck, and say hello to your new Illinois tax increase

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, left, and Senate President John Cullerton.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, left, and Senate President John Cullerton. AP

Take a close look at your next paycheck.

If you work in Illinois, the state has officially notified your employer that the boss needs to start deducting more from your paycheck and sending the money to Springfield.

In case you missed it, Illinois’ individual income tax rate is now 4.95 percent, up from 3.75 percent. For a household with an annual income of $100,000, that means an increase in income tax of $1,200, from $3,750 per year to $4,950 — only another $23 a week to be a working resident of Illinois.

It took our lawmakers two years to come up with this tax and budget package, but they’re wasting no time getting into our wallets.

If you weren’t paying attention to how Illinois got into its mess, maybe the change in your paycheck will make you take notice. And we need to pay attention, because even though this tax will give the state another $5 billion annually, big problems remain.

For one thing, there’s still that $130 billion debt to state employees’ pension funds. For another, there’s that $15 billion bill backlog.

And House Speaker Michael Madigan pushed through this Democrat tax-and-spend plan without having to accept any of the pro-business reforms that Gov. Bruce Rauner hoped would stop job-creators and residents from fleeing to more business-friendly states. What will happen when there are no paychecks left to tax?

Madigan’s scheme has no change to Illinois’ costly workers’ compensation laws, no freezing of property taxes, nothing to rein in the out-of-control government spending.

Even with this new tax windfall, our state’s credit rating remains dangerously close to junk status. Moody’s Investors Service, citing the pension debt and bill backlog and other structural problems, said Friday that Illinois has “lingering credit challenges,” like collecting $5 billion to pay off $145 billion in debt.

In other words, Illinois’ politicians might be lingering around your paycheck and your wallet for a long time.

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