Will The Real State Deficit Please Stand Up?

CHICAGO–The president of Illinois’ largest taxpayer organization questioned whether anyone in Springfield actually knows or even cares what the budget “deficit” really is, in view of the multiplicity of figures thrown out by the governor and state legislators. “It seems like the governor and his legislative buddies are plucking numbers out of the air,” said Jim Tobin, President of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI).

“When Gov. Rod Blagojevich was in office, we heard from would-be tax-raisers that the so-called gap was $2 billion,” said Tobin. “Blagojevich kept his promise and opposed any increase in the state income tax. Now with Gov. Patrick Quinn in the governor’s mansion–a politician who never met a tax he didn’t like–we were told that the gap had grown to $9 billion, and then to the present purported gap of $11.5 billion. Total state revenues dropped a modest 5% for the first 8 months of fiscal year 2009, so who’s kidding whom?”

“Income from the state income tax is up $2 billion from fiscal year 2006, without an increase in the income tax rate. And politician Quinn, who has proven to be as slippery as a quart of 10W30, neglects to mention that the state will receive $9.4 billion for its general operating expenses over the next 20 months from the federal government’s ‘stimulus’ package, and will receive an additional $2.1 billion for capital expenditures. This can virtually wipe out the purported ‘gap’ with which Springfield politicians are trying to bamboozle the public.”

“The real reason Quinn and his tax-and-spend buddies want to raise the state income tax is to pump billions more of taxpayer dollars into the unfunded portion of Illinois’ retired state and local employees’ pension and health care fund. Quinn’s deceitfulness on this matter, and his calling his proposed state income tax increase a ‘reform’ measure, is truly mind-boggling. Even his fellow Democrats are getting nervous, and they will likely throw him under the bus at the next gubernatorial primary.”

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