Just days after a judge demanded Illinois pay $293 million toward Medicaid bills, the state’s House decided to permanently hike the income tax rate by 32%.
“Under Speaker Madigan’s direction, legislators chose to double down on higher taxes while protecting the special interests and refusing to reform the status quo. It’s a repeat of the failed policies that created this financial crisis and caused jobs and taxpayers to flee” Rauner said in a statement.
“Illinois families don’t deserve to have more of the hard-earned money taken from them when the legislature has done little to restore confidence in government or grow jobs. Illinois families deserve more jobs, property tax relief and term limits. But tonight they got more of the same.”
Illinois has officially entered its third fiscal year without a budget. Rauner ran on promises not to raise taxes or spending with a few exceptions. He said he would approve “an income tax hike if it’s limited to four years and paired with a four-year property tax freeze.”
This tax hike will raise the income tax “from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, while the corporate tax rate would go from 5.25 percent to 7 percent.” The Democrats also closed corporate tax loopholes.
Democrats tried to make up for tax hikes by restoring “the research and development and manufacturers’ tax credit to attract more businesses.”
The Democrats also made last minutes changes. From NBC Chicago:
House Republicans met privately to discuss the last-minute changes to the more than $36 billion spending plan before the vote, with Minority Leader Jim Durkin reportedly calling the introduction of the 638-page amendment without advising his caucus “a sign of bad faith.”
“The Democrats made matters more complicated by filing a new spending bill within the last 15 minutes,” Durkin told reporters after meeting with his caucus. “We have no idea what’s in it. To take a tax increase vote before knowing what you’re spending on, to me is irresponsible.”
Before the vote, Durkin also reminded his colleagues that they will be “voting for the largest tax increase in Illinois” and that they “forget that there are people outside of this chamber who are going to pay for it.”
The Republicans who voted yes:
Some of the excuses they gave for voting yes to hiking income taxes. From The Chicago Tribune:
Indeed, Rep. David Harris, R-Arlington Heights, voted in favor of the tax bill, saying Sunday that he was not elected “to preside over the financial destruction of this state.”
“How many of our business people have told us they need stability?” Harris said. “This revenue bill gives them that and it ends some of the horrible dysfunction that has infected our government.”
More from The Chicago Sun-Times:
“If I lose my seat so be it,” state Rep. Michael Unes, R-Pekin said, adding the state shouldn’t have gotten so close to a financial collapse.
“Without this, we will lose thousands of lives and thousands of jobs and the alternative is so much worse. I don’t like this. This is not easy. This is really, really difficult,” Unes said. “But the alternative is much worse than this. The alternative is literally taking our state off the cliff.”
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