Quinn's Tax Hike Wouldn't Be Temporary

"Our commitment to our kids is permanent," governor says

By BJ Lutz and Mary Ann Ahern
|  Thursday, Mar 11, 2010  |  Updated 3:17 PM CDT
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The one percent income tax increase to fund education put forth by Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday would not be temporary.

"Our commitment to our kids is permanent," Quinn said Thursday at an event at Lovell School on Chicago's West Side.

"I believe this 1 percent for education makes sense, and I think the people of Illinois will understand. We must invest in the future, even in these tough economic times," he said a day earlier.

Under the plan, someone with a taxable income of $30,000, who now pays about $900 in Illinois taxes, would see that rise another $300.  It would generate about $2.8 a year in new revenue for the state, Quinn's office said.

The plan is going to be a tough sell.

Republican leaders have flatly rejected the tax increase. Until Democrats agree to overhaul big-ticket items like Medicaid spending and government pensions, they said, Republicans said they don't even want to talk about it.

"And we're not going to be bullied into it," said Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont.

Republican candidate for governor Sen. Bill Brady called the budget plan "a disaster," but said he is willing to work with Quinn to solve close the state's $11 billion budget hole without a tax increase.

"If 50 percent tax increase would create $3.5 million, this is going to fall significantly short of education needs and the state is still in an unbelievable crisis," said Illinois Rep. Jim Sacia (R-Freeport).

Democrats also don't love the idea.  It's an election year, and they say Illinoisans don't want a tax increase.

"By him tying the additional revenue and the tax increase, that money's gooing to go to education, perhaps that's going to make some people feel more comforable in doing it, but it's still going to be very, very difficult to do," said State Sen. John Sullivan (D-Quincy).

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