Illinois Policy Institute is recognized at the Tribune

June 25, 2009

The Tribune informed readers on Friday, June 19, that Governor Quinn has called for lawmakers to meet in a special session on Tuesday to deal with a state budget shortfall of $9.2.  Because Democrat legislators failed to resolve the budget shortfall prior to its adjournment on May 31, they will now need Republican votes to get the 3/5 majority required for an income tax hike.  Governor Quinn is insisting that personal and corporate income tax increases of $3.2 billion are needed to balance the fiscal year 2010 budget or major layoffs and drastic cuts to social services wil result.
I was impressed with the Tribune’s editorial of May 29, published two days before the end of the General Assembly’s spring session. The title of the editorial:  “No tax hike before reform.”  Hopefully its concluding paragraph is still the policy of the Tribune’s editorial board:  “Springfield, you’re asking for trouble with voters if you raise the income tax before you pass thorough and meaningful ethics and spending reforms.  The results so far have been half-hearted.  Put honest government first.”
As one of 500 Illinois Policy Institute Liberty leaders, I was pleased to see a reference to the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute in your May 29th editorial, which you indicted looked “like a smart new smorgasbord of spending reductions.”  The IPI report can be read at under “Budget Solutions 2010:  Balancing the Budget Without Tax Hikes.”  The report should be read and taken seriously by legislators in Springfield and Tribune readers. The savings outlined in the report would likely exceed $3.2 billion and would put funding on pace with 2006 when the population of Illinois was nearly the same. 
It is unconscionable that the young, elderly and disabled are being used as pawns in the budget battle.  The Child Care Association of Illinois used such a tactic in a news conference on June 16th when it was reported that Quinn was slashing 9,000 Foster Parent Subsidies by 50%.  Advocates warned how foster parents must return kids within 90 days and that cots might be needed in state buildings.  It appears that tax-hikers are treating foster kids as if they were products bought by foster parents at Wal-Mart (return kids). 
Pat Quinn, Mike Madigan and John Cullerton were not crying wolf, nor were Republicans, back in 2006 when our population was almost identical.  Since then the state’s spending has skyrocketed.
Tax increases proposed during the spring session failed because legislators were fearful of raising taxes on struggling taxpayers in their districts without first passing meaningful ethics and spending reforms.  Republicans legislators, as they did during the spring session, continue to insist that they won’t consider raising taxes in the special June legislation session unless the majority Democrats change business as usual in Springfield. 
Evidently president of the Senate, Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago), believes Illinoisans won big with ethics reform this year.  So he wrote in a Tribune commentary published on Friday, June 19th: “Lawmakers did their job on reform.”
The Chicago Tribune is to be applauded for its May 29th editorial which insisted that no tax hikes take place before meaningful reform.   May the Tribune continue to hold the feet of legislators to the fire.  The Illinois Policy Institute’s 2010 report paves the way toward responsible government.   Spending is the problem.  Without meaningful reform spending will continue to skyrocket year after year.   Illinoisans deserve an honest government with sound fiscal policies that do not result in waste and fraud. 


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