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Our View: Tax idea another job killer for Illinois

Published: Friday, March 28, 2014 9:54 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 28, 2014 10:01 p.m. CDT

Speaker Michael Madigan’s “millionaire tax” proposal passed out of the House Revenue Committee on Thursday, 6-4 across straight party lines, providing further evidence that Democrats in the General Assembly just don’t get it.

Madigan proposes a constitutional amendment to allow for a 3 percent surcharge on annual income over $1 million, with the additional revenue going toward education. If the powerful, Democratic House Speaker gets his way, voters will be asked on the Nov. 4 ballot to change the state Constitution to allow the tax.

Never mind that the proposal is as much a political attack against Bruce Rauner as it is bad policy. Rauner, a self-made millionaire, was nominated by Republicans to run against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in November. Madigan announce the surcharge just days after the primary.

If you want to take shots at a political challenger, buy an ad. Don’t try to change the Constitution.

But more importantly, Illinois’ unemployment rate is 8.7 percent, tied with Nevada for the second highest in the U.S. And if approved, this bill will send the rate skyrocketing.

Small businesses account for about 80 percent of new job growth in Illinois. Many of them are set up as Limited Liability Companies, partnerships, sole proprieterships and the like, which pay taxes at the individual rate.

Besides that, who in their right mind thinks Illinois state government needs more of our money?

And who in their right mind trusts Illinois state government to do anything other than waste it?

The state’s workforce – nonmillionaires and millionaires alike – already are losing about a week’s worth of pay annually after a cowardly, lame-duck General Assembly approved a “temporary,” 66 percent income tax increase in the middle of the night in January 2011.

Part of that “temporary” increase was to be rolled back at the end of this year, after the additional revenue was used to pay down the state’s bills and get Illinois back on solid financial footing.

What a whopper of a lie that turned out to be.

Turns out almost all of that revenue has gone to the black hole that is the state’s failing pension systems – systems that Quinn, Madigan and the General Assembly knew were on their way to insolvency years ago yet did nothing.

Because of their ineptitude, Quinn this week had the gall to tell state taxpayers that he was recommending the “temporary” increase become permanent.

As if that wasn’t the plan all along.

Our state’s leaders are afflicted with the delusion that Springfield needs more money, that somehow they can tax their way out of our state’s financial mess. The problem isn’t that we need more money, it’s that our elected officials haven’t taken steps to create the government we can afford.

Every new tax lawmakers try to institute delays that reckoning. They must not be allowed to delay it any longer.

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