To the Editor:
I do not agree with the Illinois Hospital Association or the Kishhealth System Board of Trustees’ stance on maintaining Illinois’ current income tax rate.
Collectively speaking, Illinois has some of the highest taxes in the country to go along with one the worst job outlooks. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Illinois’ unemployment rate for March at 8.4 percent, ranking 48th out of 50 states.
The city of Chicago has a sales tax of 11.5 percent, highest of any major U.S. city. Using aggregate median property tax as a percentage of home value, Illinois has the sixth-highest property tax rates in the country.
Illinois even placed first in a recent Gallup Poll with the highest percentage of residents who want to move out of the state, with 50 percent saying they would move out given the chance, edging out second place Connecticut with 49 percent. The most popular reason why? Taxes.
Allowing the state income tax to remain at its current rate does not take political courage and statesmanship as Maryjane A. Wurth and Kevin Poorten suggest, but rather the easy way out. Gov. Pat Quinn promised in 2011 that the income tax hike from 3 percent to 5 percent would be temporary. It’s a good thing that this issue is currently stalled in the Illinois Legislature, as reverting on a promise is a slap to the face to Illinois taxpayers.
What is fair is to allow the temporary income tax hike to expire as originally promised.
For all the revenue that Illinois brings in through taxes, tollways, lotteries, and gambling, why is our state in such a financial mess? Legislators take the easy way out. When a program or institution has a shortfall, more money is pumped into it. As a result, Illinois has the most units of government of any state and is full of ineffective bureaucracies. Would a business owner give an ineffective employee a raise in the hopes that he/she will work harder? It’s time for legislators to stand up and make across-the-board spending cuts while keeping taxes down in order to fix Illinois’ budget.
Andrew C. Brown