In a Sun-Times story running in Wednesday's Naperville Sun, a nonpartisan government watchdog group called the Civic Federation claims the state of Illinois must enact the largest tax increase in state history to help pay the bills.
The state faces a $12.8 billion budget deficit for next year. The group also recommends cutting another $2 billion from government programs and to wrest major concessions from the state's unionized workforce.
Specifically, the group's study recommends that the state income tax be increased from 3 percent to 5 percent for individuals, that retirees' pension and Social Security checks be taxed for the first time at the same rate as workers' paychecks, and the tax on cigarettes be raised by another $1 per pack. The group also favors getting rid of $181 million in corporate tax breaks.
Gov. Pat Quinn has brought up the idea of tax increases before, but the proposal never got anywhere. Even legislators who think we need a tax increase know they will be seriously hurting their chances at re-election if they come out in support of a tax increase, especially during a period of high unemployment and falling salaries.
Still, while no one likes paying taxes, something must be done. It seems unlikely enough cuts could be found to save the state almost $13 billion a year, so new revenue must be found even under the most optimistic scenarios. Is it time for a tax increase, and if not, what can we do instead?
Here is a link to the story: http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/napervillesun/news/2062132,CST-NWS-doomsday22.article