Pritchard on proposed budget deal: 'It’s beginning to look a little bit like a Christmas tree'
The idea that Senate leaders are proposing a budget plan that would raise the personal income tax rate to at least 4.95 percent -- despite the last tax hike costing the state billions of dollars in lost income -- has troubled many.
Illinois lost more than $14 billion in annual adjusted gross income (AGI) as a result of the 2011 tax hike, which raised taxes for four years, according to the Illinois Policy Institute. Illinois lost many residents to other states during that time period, as well.
The Illinois Policy Institute also reported that, between 2015 and 2016, Illinois saw a net loss of 114,000 people -- the highest out-migration in the state’s history.
The budget deal, 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.
Though some may view the proposal as a sign of progress between Springfield Republicans and Democrats, many are concerned that Illinoisans cannot take any more tax hikes.
For more, the DeKalb Times reached out to state Rep. Bob Pritchard (R-Sycamore) to get his take on the proposal.
Q: What are your thoughts on the proposed budget plan? Is it a good compromise?
A: Whatever plan passes in the Senate will be changed in the House. (House Speaker Mike Madigan) does not allow us to debate anything that he hasn’t put his fingerprints all over. So this plan would change considerably.
Q: Should the plan offer more reforms?
A: What concerns me is the amendments that are being made to the (plan) continue to increase spending without looking at the spending cuts that need to be made and assuring citizens that any new revenue is going to be used to pay down bills.
That was some of the talk when Gov. Quinn passed the last tax increase … but we just used the money to pay pension payments without any changes to the pension payments that would have made the future payments easier to pay.
Q: If the budget package passes the Senate, would you support it in the House? Why or why not?
A: While I am still very hopeful -- and I’m glad to see the leadership in the Senate, the House and Democratic leadership trying to work together on a package -- this has been rushed too much, and it’s beginning to look a little bit like a Christmas tree.
Q: Do you have any additional thoughts?
A: It’s not just the tax increase. If you look at it, there’s a business privileges tax that’s going to raise some $800 million from businesses. And yes, there (are) a few givebacks, but the givebacks are only a couple hundred million dollars. Businesses are all going to be paying more.
And then you look at the provision that raises the minimum wage: businesses are going to be paying more for that. So how are we improving the business climate that allows the job creators to create more jobs?
That’s why I say this compromise is not ripe yet for a vote. It’s got to be a true compromise. I just think that it was too rushed in coming with these ideas.