Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Illinois, Home of Out of Control Spending

At 1 a.m. this morning, the Senate in Illinois passed a bill to increase the personal income tax by 67% and the business income tax by 47%.  The article linked discusses some of the problems in Illinois right now:
In trying to sell the tax package, supporters sought to portray a sense of urgency, saying the failure to act to fill a $15 billion budget deficit, including a looming $8 billion in overdue bills, would lead to the state teetering into insolvency, its bond rating reduced to junk status.

Billions of dollars in overdue bills.  How does this happen?  While I don't know anything about governmental budgets, it would seem to me that money coming in has to be greater than or equal to money going out.  So, why is there such disparity?  Why are thousands of corporations across the country able to maintain a budget and the state of Illinois is not?  While the bill does purport to limit spending, there is no explanation as to whether these are actual cuts, or just an arbitrary figure:
In addition, the measure would attempt to limit spending in each of the next four budget years — $36.8 billion in the 2012 budget year, $37.5 billion in 2013, $38.3 billion in 2014 and $39 billion in 2015. The state’s auditor general would determine if lawmakers and the governor exceed those spending limits. If the limits are exceeded, the higher income tax rates would revert to current levels.
I haven't heard anything about spending cuts.  If there are in fact billions of dollars worth of overdue bills, are these even necessary bills, and is there any excess or ways to decrease those bills going forward?  Shouldn't someone be looking at that?  The answer is not to simply increase the revenue stream.  Something needs to happen on both sides of the table.   

Allegedly, the tax increase is only temporary:
Under the bill that went to Quinn, the current 3 percent personal income tax rate would go to 5 percent until 2015, when it would drop to 3.75 percent. To gain more support among lawmakers, the plan would further lower the tax rate in 2025 to 3.25 percent.

Sorry, but I don't buy it.  In my (vast) experience, the more money you throw into the government around here, the more money that gets spent.  Once they get used to having this revenue stream, it will be very difficult to make them cut it off.

Obviously this turn of events does not make me happy, but the business tax increase is even more troubling.  Is this really the answer when we are trying to create jobs?  Let's see how many businesses decide to leave Illinois over this.  It really seems like a debacle. 

1 comment:

  1. Richmond's local radio guy (Libertarian) was talking about this on my drive home. He pretty much came to the same conclusions as you.
    I don't know when it was, a year or two ago, but VA Power decided to raise electric rates because of high fuel costs, saying it would be temporary. B.S. People always get used to an increase of money.