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Why Pat Quinn's $15B Plan Is Exactly How We Voted

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Why Pat Quinn's $15B Plan Is Exactly How We Voted

Gov. Pat Quinn’s wants to borrow $15 billion to pay the state’s bills. But that’s not really where’s going to get the money. He’s going to get the money from us. And we’re going to have to like it.

We the people of Illinois elected Quinn to a full term as governor despite his inability to solve the state’s financial problems, so we shouldn’t be surprised that he’s beginning his next four years on a note of fiscal irresponsibility.

Quinn calls the borrowing plan a “debt bond,” and says it would be cheaper than letting the unpaid bills continue to slide, because interest on the bond is less than the late fees the state has to pay its vendors.

Even if we manage to pay a year’s worth of bills, we’re going to wind up right back in debt next year, because the state is running a multi-billion dollar deficit. Taking care of that will require spending cuts or a tax increase. Quinn owes too much to the public employees’ unions to seriously cut the state’s spending, so he’s continuing to push an income tax increase. According to the Tribune:

The most conventional source of money to repay the loan — an income tax increase — is also the most controversial. House Speaker Michael Madigan has been polling his Democrats on a variety of tax-hike options to gauge which might have a chance of passing. The scenarios include theoretical tax increases that would be billed as temporary or permanent and range from 1 to 2 percentage points.

 Publicly, Quinn is sticking by his proposed 1-percentage-point income tax increase, which he has dubbed a “surcharge for education.” Privately, the governor has discussed with lawmakers dividing the money generated from a tax increase between schools and the state's general revenue fund.

Last month, we were given a choice between a governor who wanted to cut spending by 10 percent, and a governor who wanted to raise taxes. We voted for taxes. Get ready to pay.

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