Jim Tobin in Crain's Chicago Business

National Taxpayers United of Illinois continues to get considerable press. The following Op-Ed, written by NTUI President Jim Tobin, was printed April 12 in Crain’s Chicago Business.

Common-sense steps to improve state’s business climate

With double-digit unemployment and a rank of 48th in job creation among the 50 states, Illinois must cultivate a better economic climate to attract, retain and grow businesses. Springfield politicians have dug a large budget hole, and only serious spending reductions and strong economic growth will get us out. Here are a few ways to do that:

Broaden the education tax credit. The current tax credit of up to $500 is far too limited. A comprehensive credit would allow individual and business taxpayers to reduce their state and local tax burden by paying for the private education of any eligible child, either through direct support or by donating to a non-profit scholarship organization. With funding on a sliding scale and capped at 80% of the average cost of government schooling, every child who moves from a government school to a private school will save the state thousands of dollars.

Repeal the minimum wage law. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Illinois, already at $8, is scheduled to increase it to $8.25 this summer. With so many people needing jobs in our state, we must decrease business costs to increase employent. Illinois can join those states that have no minimum wage law and minimize the harm done by this type of regulation. The more people who become employed, the less we all pay for unemployment benefits.

In addition, we all must not make the business climate in our state worse by:

Raising personal income taxes. Many families are barely scraping by in this economy, and yet we continue to hear Gov. Pat Quinn calling for a 33% increase in the state personal income tax, to 4% from 3%. The last thing our economy needs is to tax weath-creators into bankruptcy or send them fleeing to a lower-tax state.

Raising corporate income taxes. Mr. Quinn also wants to increase the state corporate income tax to 8.3% from 7.3% This increase would rank Illinois 36th among the 50 states in corporate tax-rate competitiveness and induce businesses to move to nearby states with lower rates, such as Wisconsin (7.9%) and Missouri (6.25%) , or even to states with no corporate income tax, such as Nevada and Texas.

Resurrecting the estate tax. The death tax disappeared this year. Let it rest in peace. Re-taxing the inheritance from entrepreneurs, investors and business owners is a road to diminished innovation, reduced investment and closed businesses. We must stop penalizing success if we want more of it.

Everyone should work to improve the business climate in Illinois. Common-sense tax and regulatory relief will result in business growth, increased job opportunities and higher living standards for all.

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