Democrats back proposal to raise income taxes by $1 billion per year

HJRCA 26, sponsored by Speaker Michael Madigan and 46 of his Democratic House colleagues that would increase income taxes by $1 Billion failed to win the required House super-majority vote on Thursday.

As a constitutional amendment, the failed measure required a three-fifths majority (71 votes) in order to gain House approval. After getting to 68 votes in a tense roll call (with three Democrats voting “No”), the Speaker ordered the roll call to be dumped and the measure placed on the calendar order of “Consideration Postponed.”

Governor Rauner and the House Republicans have committed to cutting waste and reforming state government before discussing new revenue. Illinois now has a balance of power between those whose first instinct is to raise taxes and those who believe the path to good-paying jobs is through growing small business, not attacking it.

Speaker Madigan’s tax hike proposal isn’t new. It is the same cynical attempt to create class warfare as was proposed last year, when Illinois Democrats were similarly and instinctively demanding higher taxes.

The last tax hike forced upon working families by former Governor Quinn and legislative Democrats was supposed to balance the budget and pay off old bills. That didn’t happen. In 2011, when the temporary income tax increase went into effect, Illinois had an $8.5 billion backlog of unpaid bills. After collecting $31 billion in additional revenue, Illinois still has $6 billion in unpaid bills.

Illinois needs comprehensive reform that fundamentally changes the way we do business. We need honest negotiations between Governor Rauner and the General Assembly on how to clean up the fiscal mess, and any discussion of new revenue should come after reform, not before.