Taxpayers To Pols: Cut Spending And Forget State Income Tax Hike

The president of Illinois’ largest taxpayer organization today responded to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s April 27 statement in which he supported substantially and permanently increasing the Illinois state income tax in exchange for a temporary, nominal decrease in property taxes. Jim Tobin, president of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI), said Illinois public schools are drowning in taxpayer dollars rather than being “under funded,” and called upon state legislators to cut spending rather than increasing the tax burden on overtaxed Illinois taxpayers.

“Dick Daley repeated the same old tall story that Illinois public school education is under funded, and implied that because the State of Illinois has a ‘revenue crisis,’ a large increase in the state income tax is the only option for funding the state’s public schools,” said Tobin. “The fact is that Daley is really worried about the reaction of homeowners when they receive an average 41 percent hike in property taxes for the median-level Chicago home. He’s just trying to protect his backside.”

“Former Governor Jim Edgar (R), a notorious tax-raiser in his own right, is a director of the Center for Budget and Tax Increases, which also supports a back-breaking 67 percent state personal income tax increase (House Bill 755).”

“Total state revenues are up sharply and there is no revenue crisis,” said Tobin. “State revenue shot up $6 billion in the two-year period ending June 30, 2005, twice the rate of inflation. In 1994-95, total state, local and federal revenues for the state’s elementary and secondary public schools totaled $11.7 billion. Ten years later, in 2004-05, total revenues had climbed to $20.6 billion, an increase of 76 percent, while enrollment rose only nine percent.”

“Illinois spent an average of $8,656 per student in 2003-04, more than the national average of $8,287. In 1998-99, Illinois’ dollars per student was $6,760. Spending per student increased 28 percent in this five-year period.”

“Politicians never mention that of the tax dollars that supposedly go to ‘education,’ 80 percent go directly into the pockets of teachers, administrators and highly paid consultants. Increasing the state income tax 67 percent will make these teachers, administrators and consultants more affluent, but will not in any way help students learn more, as there is no meaningful correlation between spending per pupil and student achievement.”

“It’s time politicians apply the scalpel to the overspending that is making education bureaucrats and consultants wealthy, rather than looking for more ways to reach into the pockets of Illinois taxpayers. And it’s time that Dick Daley stops being a mouthpiece for these Springfield politicians and cuts local spending to bring to a standstill the escalating property taxes in Chicago.”

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