Reporting John Cody
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Marking the first anniversary of the income tax hike approved by Gov. Pat Quinn and the Democrat-controlled legislature, Republican lawmakers hammered Democrats over the tax increase, saying people don’t like it and it’s not working.
WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports that Republican leaders used the anniversary of the tax hike to call for repealing it.
House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) pointed to $1,000 worth of groceries, claiming that’s how much the temporary tax hike is costing Illinois residents each year.
“If we would address some of the critical components of structural change – like pensions and Medicaid and how we handle retiree health care, etc. – and cut, we can avoid … going down this continuous road,” Cross said.
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Cross and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) said the tax hike was passed with the claim it would solve the state’s budget problems, but they said it has been a failure. They said the state still needs major pension reform and Medicaid reform to cut down on costs.
“It needs to be done in a bipartisan way, all of this needs to be done in a bipartisan way. But, at this point, some of these critical ones have not been addressed by the Democrat leaders,” Cross said.
He also cited a poll which asserts 68% of those responding don’t like the tax hike and called a repeal of the 67 percent income tax hike that went into effect last year.
Cross said Republicans haven’t called up budget measures they seek, because they know Democrats won’t go for it.
But Kelly Kraft, Quinn’s budget spokeswoman, pointed to the same $1,000 in groceries in opposing a move to repeal the tax hike.
“We take a look at jars of Ragu, we take a look pickles; all of these visuals are great, but the facts are each one of these products represents 20,000 teachers that would be fired under this plan, firefighters that would be fired under this plan,” Kraft said. “Services for men and women who serve our country, when they come back, there would not be services for them.”
Kraft said the governor doesn’t like the tax hike either but needs it to keep the state budget balanced.
The governor’s office also pointed out the income tax hike, which raised the personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent, was temporary. The full tax hike was set to last for four years. After 2014, the individual rate is scheduled to drop to 3.75 percent. In 2025, the individual rate is scheduled to drop to 3.25 percent.