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Is Tax Policy To Blame For Illinois’ Problems?

1040 Federal Tax Return (credit: AP)

1040 Federal Tax Return (credit: AP)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — As people focus on their tax returns this weekend, two politically opposed budget watchdogs are differing strongly about the role taxes are playing in Illinois’ financial problems right now.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, John Tillman of the conservative Illinois Policy Center says Illinois’ tax policies are a major reason that people and businesses are leaving the state.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“A reason for that is people have better economic opportunity elsewhere. That’s one of the main reasons they’re leaving. We’re 48th worst overall in net outmigration. All of that is because the tax burden and the regulatory burden is too high on the job creators and the taxpayers,” he said.

But there is one feature of Illinois’ tax policy which Tillman agrees. Illinois—he says—has a flat tax rate in which everyone pays the same rate, or is supposed to anyway.

But Ralph Martire, with the more liberal Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, says the reason people are leaving the state has nothing to do with taxes.

“We haven’t invested in K-12 education; in fact, we’re a total lagger there in the nation, ranking 50th out of the 50 states in the portion of school funding covered by state-based resources. We haven’t invested adequately in infrastructure,” Martire said.

Martire also argues that a progressive tax rate, with the rich paying more, is better.

Both men agree on one point, that lawmakers should not start doling out tax breaks to various businesses – even if the aim to get companies to move to Illinois or stay here.

The talk turns to taxes on WBBM Newsradio’s “At Issue” program this weekend and you can hear more Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.