Morrison: ‘More appetite’ to raise taxes than cut spending in Springfield
The idea that Senate leaders are proposing a budget plan that would raise the personal income tax rate to at least 4.95 percent -- despite the last tax hike costing the state billions of dollars in lost income -- has many concerned.
Illinois lost more than $14 billion in annual adjusted gross income (AGI) as a result of the 2011 tax hike, which raised taxes for four years, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.
Additionally, Illinois lost many residents to other states during that time period.
The Illinois Policy Institute also reported that, between 2015 and 2016, Illinois saw a net loss of 114,000 people -- the highest outward migration in state history.
Crafted by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R–Lemont), the budget deal has continued to evolve in recent days. It would reportedly borrow $7 billion to pay off bills, expand legalized gambling, impose stricter rules on workers’ compensation and freeze local property taxes for two years.
Though some may view the proposal as a sign of progress between Springfield Republicans and Democrats, many are concerned that Illinoisans can't shoulder additional tax hikes.
For more, North Cook News spoke to state Rep. Thomas Morrison (R-Palatine) for his opinion on the proposal.
Q: What are your thoughts on the proposed budget plan? Is it a good compromise?
A: My concern is that there is far more appetite for lawmakers to raise taxes than reining in spending or implementing the kind of reforms that would pull down the need for more revenue in the future.
We know that there (is) a huge pile of unpaid bills that are mounting, and so one side will say, ‘Well, we need more revenue, look at all those unpaid bills. We’ve got to pay this down. How are we going to get more revenue?’
Conservative Republicans tried to avoid this situation in the first place by pushing for reforms in the past that were ignored, and in the interim, we’ve continued to lose net population of taxpayers. So, yes … we have a shrinking population -- it’s going to be harder to raise the revenue that you need.
Q: Should the plan offer more reforms?
A: A raise in tax rates without adequate reforms will continue to move people and businesses out of the state. We want to get more revenue by encouraging more taxpayers to live in Illinois. Implementing much of the Turnaround Agenda would help. We might not see improvements immediately, but I think it would stem the tide.
Some of the frustration that my constituents have had is that there has been no real progress or that the fiscal problems will be solved only by raising tax rates or broadening the tax base without (spending) cuts.
Q: If the budget package passes the Senate, would you support it in the House? Why or why not?
A: I haven’t looked at it in great detail. I’ve looked at an overview, but I was told that it’s still a work in progress.
Q: Do you have any additional thoughts?
A: Individuals and businesses don’t make long-range plans based on the day-to-day activity of the General Assembly, but as long as we continue down the road we have been on day by day, week by week, month by month and now we are almost two years without a budget with the same old same old, it’s getting harder and harder for people to make their long-range plans include the state of Illinois.