Illinois Taxpayers May Lose a Friend, Gain an Enemy

By Dennis Constant

The legal system, not the press, will determine if Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) has committed any crime by shooting-off his mouth regarding the Senate seat vacated by President Elect Obama. Stupid, ill-advised, possibly rhetorical comments ultimately may not be determined to be a “conspiracy.” But one thing is certain: If Gov. Blagojevich is forced from office and is replaced by Lt. Governor Patrick Quinn, it will be bad news for Illinois taxpayers.

Gov. Blagojevich promised in 2003 that he would oppose any increase in the state income tax. Amazingly, this is one politician who actually kept his promise. Thanks in large part to Gov. Blagojevich, taxpayers were spared state income tax increases for 15 years in a row. If Quinn takes over, the state will have a governor who promised that he will raise the state income tax.

Patrick Quinn’s entire political career is that of an opportunistic, slick, far-left-wing “populist” who wants to raise taxes on what he calls the “lucky fat cats.” Unfortunately, the lucky fat cats he wants to suck dry are a large part of Illinois’ middle-class.

In April 2004, Illinois taxpayers, working through local taxpayer organizations as well as the state-wide National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI), helped defeat Quinn’s plan to raise some Illinoisans’ state income taxes 100 percent in exchange for a token $200 “property tax rebate” for homeowners. NTUI President Jim Tobin took Quinn on in a televised debate on Chicago Tonight (WTTW Channel 11), and NTUI’s efforts kept the Quinn Amendment in committee past the Constitutionally-mandated deadline of May 2, 2004. Taxpayers also defeated the 100 percent income tax increase amendment in 2006 and 2008. In fact, the bill, HJRCA 42 was defeated in the state house by 19 votes on April 10, 2008.

(The transcript of the Chicago Tonight debate may be found at:

Illinois taxpayers should be made aware of how precarious their finances are. If Patrick Quinn replaces Gov. Blagojevich, they better head for the hills. Gov. Blagojevich may be quirky, sometimes loopy, and verbally self-defeating, but he has been the best friend Illinois taxpayers have had in the Governor’s mansion as long we can remember.

Dennis Constant is the Research Director for the Illinois Taxpayer Education Foundation.

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