Ives: Economic outcome of reforms in proposed budget plan 'not going to move the needle one bit'
Illinois Senate leaders are reportedly still negotiating the proposed budget plan that would raise the personal income tax rate to at least 4.95 percent.
The plan, crafted by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R–Lemont), has continued to evolve in recent days. It would reportedly borrow $7 billion to pay off bills, expand legalized gambling, impose stricter rules on workers’ compensation and freeze local property taxes for two years.
The plan originally proposed a new tax on sugary drinks; however, due to strong opposition from a number of business groups, that aspect of the plan has been nixed, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.
Senate leaders have been negotiating the deal in an attempt to solve the state’s unprecedented budget stalemate, which has lasted 18 months.
Though some may view the proposal as a sign of progress between Springfield Republicans and Democrats, many are concerned that Illinoisans can’t handle any more tax hikes.
DuPage Policy Journal spoke to state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) to get her take on the proposal.
Q: What are your thoughts on the proposed budget deal?
A: My thoughts are that they don’t have a good starting point. They are tinkering around the edges when Illinois is an outlier in every economic consideration.
So when we talk about a really bad bond debt rating, we’re three times worse than the next worst state. We’re (at the bottom), whether it’s property tax values, jobs, unemployment rates ... you name it. So when you are such an outlier, you can’t do these marginal reform ideas.
You have to have strong revolutionary change to attract and retain businesses and people. And it’s unfortunate that what they have put in place is just tinkering around the edges when we have a very serious economic problem.
Q: If the budget package passes the Senate, would you support it in the House? Why or why not?
A: I intend to kill it all -- the entire package. Truthfully, I don’t even think the Democrats want this any more, so I think it’s dead on arrival in the Illinois House.
Q: The Illinois Policy Institute reported that between 2015 and 2016, Illinois saw a net loss of 114,000 people -- the highest out-migration in the state’s history. How concerned are you that even more people in the wake of a tax hike?
A: I am 100 percent certain that if we raise taxes to the extent that they want to and without any major reform we are going to lose more businesses and the people who depend on those businesses for jobs. I am 100 percent concerned about the tax increases in (the package).
When we talk about marginal reform, for example, they have an ineffective pension reform plan that they’re trying to put in place when everyone in the private sector knows we need to move public-sector (workers) to a 401-K style account. They are proposing six new casinos when the original gaming bill set up to fund education never met its goal. They’re considering procurement reform when the biggest cost to government is labor controlled by union collective bargaining agreements, and real reform would be proposing right to work. So everything that they are doing is insufficient and is not going to move the needle one bit in terms of our economic outcome.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: The people who are putting this package together have no concept of how bad off Illinois is. We are a debt-ridden broke state depending on bond holders to give us more money every time just to pay our bills.