Thanks for nothing, Chicago

Dear people of the City of Chicago: thanks for nothing. I do not thank you for re-electing Democrats to the state legislature; I do not thank you for re-electing a Democrat to the governor’s mansion. I thank you for nothing.  I lay the miserable condition of this state at your feet.

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the re-apportionment of the congressional seats in Congress, and Illinois is slated to lose one congressional seat in the next election. This is due to the population of Illinois not growing as quickly as every other state. In fact, we had about the same population growth as other economically-challenged states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Louisiana, which also lost seats. Over the last 10 years, the economic climate of Illinois has been one that has discouraged people and business from coming to our state.

The Scope
The legislative majority in Illinois (which you elected, Chicago) is about to further those same policies for the next 14 years, reportedly increasing the state income tax from 3% to 5%, the corporate income tax from 7.3% to 10.9%, which would give Illinois the highest corporate tax rate in the nation (passing Pennsylvania at 9.9%, another state that’s losing a congressional seat).

“It’s only a temporary increase,” some Democrats will say, “to help us to fund our pension obligations and to educate our children.” Ah yes, the children. Attach “education funding” to any measure, and that automatically makes it more sensible. Yes, it’s only temporary, and it’s for the kids. The income tax increase will only be for the next 14 years (that’s what goes for “temporary” these days).

The Democrats are pushing the bill through the legislature in the waning hours of the lame duck session, because in the next session of the legislature, they’ll have six fewer Democrats than in the current session (but still a majority).

The Consequences
Our state will continue to lose influence, both in the U.S. Congress and in the world. Businesses who would otherwise be tempted to re-locate here to Illinois will no longer be tempted. People who would move here will be deterred.

The Chicago Tribune states, “It’s no secret that when making investments, business have to consider the costs. And states with lower-cost environments provide an opportunity for businesses and their employees to succeed. That’s not the type of environment we are creating in Illinois with these tax proposals.”

Companies will pay more in taxes, individuals will pay more in taxes (to the tune of an estimated $7.5 billion more), and no one wins. Well, perhaps the public sector unions will win. And those who don’t win will take their economic drivers and go home. Or, rather, they’ll take their economic drivers, move to Texas, build a new home for half the amount they would build the same one for in Illinois, and then live in it. And then they’ll employ three more workers. And then they’ll stick out their tongue in the general direction of Illinois and say, “Hey, look at me creating jobs over here. Enjoy your two Democratic congressmen.”

The Opposition
Governor Pat Quinn says that he has a mandate for a tax increase. Again, thanks for nothing, Chicago. He reportedly made the deal (to bring that tax increase to fruition) with Speaker of the House Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton over the weekend, and state Republicans are in an uproar.

Pat Brady, the state Republican party chairman, said that the tax increase was “the latest example of life in Madiganville,” referring to Speaker Mike Madigan, who’s been the speaker of the House for many years.

Tom Cross, the minority leader in the Illinois House, was quoted in the New York Times saying, “Even if you have a tax increase like this, you can’t wake up and say, ‘I’ve got all the money in the world, and I can spend like a drunken sailor. This is all as bad as everyone says, and I still don’t hear any willingness to see the need to tighten the belt.”

There are Democrats in the state legislature that are also against raising taxes in Illinois. “There were members in both caucuses who thought we went too far, too fast on the personal income tax as well as the corporate income tax,” said Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago.

But don’t worry, Illinois. When Governor Quinn was inaugurated today, he said that everything would be fine under his leadership. “I’m here today to say we will pay our bills, that we will stabilize our budget. We will strengthen our economy. We will do that, and we will do that very, very soon.”

If you live in Illinois, how will you handle the Illinois tax increase?

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  • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

    Tell us how you really feel! LOL!

  • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

    Just asking if scenrio like this one is what the Gov. could be looking to avoid why a tax increase?

    http://cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2011/01/18/exp.nr.camden.police.layoff.cnn

    • Bob

      Perhaps. A few objections to the argument, though:
      1. City police are not funded from the state level.
      2. The tax increases in Illinois are not going to pay for public safety in any way (as far as I can see).
      3. In Camden, their headline says that they’re laying off 170 workers, but 60-70 of those were new hires in the last year. So, really, we’re talking about a 33% reduction in the force, not a 50% reduction. Still large, but not the huge deal that CNN is making it to be.
      4. Also, I understand that Camden has a high violent-crime rate. But is the solution always more law enforcement? Perhaps, but that’s a little like making the argument that, in order to fix our schools, we need to spend more money on our schools. It’s not always the case. What about prison reform to reduce recidivism? Or community policing? Or community education? Or….