Tax increases by Illinois Democrats jeopardize Illinois' future

Tom Cross Mar. 9, 2008, 7:30am


The lure of raising taxes for Democrats is something akin to how moths seek light, even if it comes from a bug zapper.

No matter the cost, both in economic terms and human terms, Illinois Democrats can't resist the lure of raising taxes to fuel a larger, less-efficient government.

As Illinois sits on the brink of recession, Illinois Democrats are defying all economic intuition by raising taxes on consumers and employers. In the past three months, Democrats have raised the sales tax in Cook County twice.

This month, they have proposed an increase in the state's income tax, an increase in the state payroll tax and a multitude of other burdensome regulatory fee increases and taxes that will ultimately cost Illinois families and businesses billions of dollars.

These actions come in direct contrast to the action being taken on the federal level to avoid a recession.

The bi-partisan economic stimulus package approved by Congress is designed to provide families with tax rebates to spur more consumer spending and greater confidence in the economy.

The tragic irony in Illinois is that while the federal government seeks to give families more of their money back, Illinois Democrats merely viewed it as an opportunity to seize even more of our money through higher sales taxes.

There is a real human impact to the tax increases enacted by Illinois Democrats.

First and foremost, they run in direct opposition to the recession-fighting plan the federal government is enacting and risk making Illinois the first state to fall into an economic recession.

Secondly, they continue the downward-spiral of job loss in Illinois. Since 2003, when Illinois Democrats took control of Illinois government, Illinois has lost 63,000 manufacturing jobs. Illinois currently ranks 45th in the nation in job growth and we continue to see major employers in Illinois reduce their operations or move entirely out-of-state.

As if the tax increases were not enough, Illinois Democrats are spending our state into deep and massive debt. Illinois has the largest deficit of any state in the nation-totaling nearly $4 billion.

The net effect is a climate that is ripe for recession with Democrat leaders convinced that they have to spend and tax more.

Could it have been worse? You bet.

Last year, Gov. Blagojevich outlined a $9 billion tax increase to fund a multi-billion dollar government run healthcare program. This tax increase would have put Illinois on the fast track to massive unemployment and job loss hurtling us towards a recession. House Republicans led the immediate and swift opposition to this measure, ultimately securing the votes needed to decisively defeat the record-setting tax increase.

However, there is hope that we can turn the tide in Illinois and bring real economic change. There were some successes last year, for instance Illinois House Republicans also led the effort to implement last year's austere, responsible budget that made government live within its means.

This year, in contrast to Illinois Democrats' calls for tax increases, House Republicans are supporting efforts to provide responsible tax relief for families, seniors and job-producers. We are also aggressively advocating for an Illinois economic stimulus package to protect the state from recessionary pressures.

These efforts, coupled with a responsible spending plan, can restore Illinois to a job-producing state and fend-off recessionary concerns.

As our nation and our state face the most challenging economic times since 9/11, we must be responsible, efficient and effective if we are to hold-off an impending recession.

House Republicans will again lead the effort to oppose tax increases, a job and role we have succeeded in the past and will be vigilantly dutiful in the present.

For if we've learned one thing, no matter how bad the impact, the lure of a tax increase is too powerful for Democrats to resist.

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