By Matt Besler
“Republicans will not be supporting any new revenue this session,” stated Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin last week during a forum at Chicago’s City Club.
We agree with Leader Durkin. A tax increase is wrong for Illinois.
Illinois does not have a revenue problem. From 2006-2014, Illinois saw a 48% increase in tax revenue. Unfortunately, the state has very little to show for it. In those eight years, we went further into debt; our liabilities increased; our credit rating plummeted; our ability to deliver basic services deteriorated; and people, businesses and jobs fled the state.
We have a spending problem. And, it is a moral imperative that we fix Illinois’ pension crisis and fund necessary and prudent functions of state government without asking taxpayers, yet again, to forfeit more of their hard-earned money.
Today, these are the realities facing Illinoisans:
- Illinois has the highest unemployment rate in the Midwest.
- Illinois has one of the highest property tax burdens in the country.
- The median household income in Illinois has declined since 2005.
- Four years ago, the Democrat-led General Assembly passed the largest tax hike in the history of Illinois, promising to pay down unpaid state bills and get Illinois’ finances in order. Yet, despite state record tax revenue, we are still left with $4 billion in unpaid state bills and the nation’s largest unfunded pension liability.
Illinois has traditionally been the economic engine of America’s Heartland. Our neighboring states cannot compete with our resources or our workforce. Bad fiscal policies, however, have obscured these advantages.
With a Governor and a Republican Caucus unified in purpose, Illinois has an opportunity to chart a new course through the implementation of pro-growth agenda. As part of that agenda, tax policy matters. With the right reforms and sound policy choices, Illinois has all the right ingredients to be a driving force in the Midwest and in the world. The Illinois Opportunity Project encourages Leader Durkin and the Republican Caucus to stand their ground as the policy battles intensify. Join our Policy Revolution by donating $25, $50, or $100 today. Together, we can empower and advance principled leaders in Illinois.