More than $100 billion in tax hikes over five years may sound like a joke. But to many Illinois lawmakers, it sounds like a solution.
State Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, recently said that “creative lawmakers can come up with many options for new revenue.” Unfortunately, Illinois lawmakers have outdone themselves in the creativity department this year.
The array of six tax hikes proposed by Illinois lawmakers this legislative session adds up to more than $100 billion over the next five years. That’s more than the state’s total projected general-fund spending in fiscal years 2016, 2017 and 2018 – combined.
Sources for revenue estimates: Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, state Sen. Don Harmon, Chicago Teachers Union, state Rep. Art Turner, state Rep. Robyn Gabel, House Speaker Michael Madigan and state Sen. Chapin Rose
And the tax-hike proposals don’t stop there.
Additional tax-hike proposals are being thrown around without any idea of how much they might raise. State Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, proposed a 3.75 percent tax on guns and gun parts. When asked how much revenue it would raise, she said she didn’t know but thought “if we can get a good million or so, I’ll take it.”
Enough is enough. How can taxpayers take their legislators seriously when they’ve put more than $100 billion in tax hikes on the table in a state that is on the brink of financial and economic collapse?
Rather than trying to build a “creative” revenue plan based on how much lawmakers want to spend over the next few years, they should instead focus on building a spending plan based on the amount of revenue the state will have under its current tax structure.
Benjamin VanMetre is Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst at the Illinois Policy Institute.