Your taxes are probably going up, campers. Way up. In addition to the >50% hike (3% to 5%) on personal state income taxes that was approved by the state senate yesterday, an entirely new source of revenue that will hit everyone squarely in their pocketbooks was also passed, which is taxes on services (6.25%) that were previously not taxed. The Illinois Issues Blog from U of I has a nice summary of all the moving parts of this tax package.
What does this mean? It means you may well be paying more for your health club dues, your dry cleaning, your movie tickets, your Cub/Sox/Fielders tickets, Great America tickets, video rentals, car rentals, your Internet service, even to bowl a few games down at the local bowling alley. Swell. You can see all the tax increases in an amendment to the senate bill at page 62 of the PDF that can be found here.
So, who voted to further siphon dollars directly out of your wallet primarily to fund pensions for state workers? Unsurprisingly, the usual Democratic crowd. The Daily Herald has a nice chart on the roll call vote for HB 174. The final vote in favor of the bill was 31 to 27.
But, who were the Democratic standouts that voted against the tax hike? State Senators Michael Bond (D-Grayslake) and Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest).
But, before you call these two senators with a hearty "thank you" for keeping your taxes low, consider this: it's probably much more than a coincidence that both state senators have declared their intention to run for Congress, in the 10th District seat that they both hope 5-term incumbent Congressman Mark Kirk will announce soon that he is leaving to run for the U.S. Senate (no, kids, no update on Mark's decision yet). Given that the SDems had 31 votes, they were able to give Bond and Garrett a pass so that they will be able to claim in the upcoming congressional race that they opposed raising your taxes (even though they know that their votes were not needed).
Well, it's not difficult to see through this charade.
If Bond and Garrett were REALLY against raising your taxes, why are they not talking to the papers about how horrible a bill this is, and explaining why they voted against it??? Have they endorsed the alternative budget plan being touted by State Senator Matt Murphy??? Have they issued press releases chastising the SDem leadership for pushing through a harmful tax increase in the middle of a deep recession???
No, I didn't think so. So, before we let Bond and Garrett already write into their CD-10 campaign material that they are a champion of no tax increases, ask them today what they are really doing to stop the increases while it might still make a difference.
In addition to the overall budget mess, State Senator Terry Link also finally managed to put enough votes on his gambling expansion package to get it past the senate (note that both Bond and Garrett had to vote for this to get it through). It still faces a very uncertain future in the house, where Speaker Michael Madigan had previously indicated he is not interested in expanding gambling. But, will anyone notice that Link had previously touted this expansion bill as an 'alternative' to raising taxes? Given that the huge tax hike does not plug the budget gap by itself, it is now apparent that the gambling expansion will simply be yet another revenue add-on to the tax increases. Thanks, Terry. Instead of working on bringing more businesses to Lake County and Illinois, you are stuck on increasing gambling as your one idea to bring in more revenue. Great job, really.