Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dear Governor Quinn (from MiC):

I read in the paper yesterday that you were again talking with the media about what was now referred to as pension “restructuring”. First, I’m glad to see you stopped misusing the term “reform”. The proposed “restructuring” of earned pension benefits for those who did not create the state’s pension difficulties which would make things worse for Illinois’ economy and middle class clearly doesn’t fit the definition of reform. I’m also glad to see you stopped picking on fictional 87 year-old retirees, focusing on the “bond houses” that are watching instead. That’s a move in the right direction, even though I’d remind you that it’s not just the bond houses watching Springfield’s actions closely. You even said something yesterday I agree with: “This is not the time to dilly dally. It’s a time to act.”

Putting aside the term “dilly dally” which I generally reserve for use with children, I would agree that it is time for lawmakers in Springfield to act. They’ve ignored the state’s structural budget deficit for too long through consistent mismanagement of the state budget and tax policy that benefited profitable corporations and wealthy campaign donors at the expense of the majority of Illinois taxpayers. Springfield politicians caused this problem, not the hundreds of thousands of working and middle class individuals who never missed a pension payment and who faithfully kept us safe, took care of our old and sick, and inspired Illinois’ children. You are right Governor Quinn, it is time to act.

To paraphrase one of your own examples of the cost of inaction, allow me to explain just one of the many ways politicians in Springfield could act to fix Illinois’ structural budget deficit. One of the most beneficial for Illinois taxpayers would be to reform Illinois’ flat income tax system. Only six other states have such a regressive flat-tax system that has a nurse earning $40,000 pay the same tax rate as a millionaire with an income of $4,000,000. The vast majority of states have a graduated income tax systems that base tax rates on the ability to pay. For example, if Illinois adopted the same graduated system in place right now in Iowa it would cut taxes for the majority of Illinois taxpayers while generating $6.3 billion in additional revenue in one year.

In case you missed it, here it is again in bullet form:

·         A graduated income tax would cut taxes for the majority of Illinois taxpayers.
·         A graduated income tax would generate $6.3 billion (with a “B”) in new revenue.
·         A graduated income tax would do this in one year.

That’s $63 BILLION in new revenue over the next decade. So let’s do the math as those bond houses are watching: $6,300,000,000 / 365 days = $17,260,274 per day.

As you can see Governor, every day Springfield politicians continue to ignore the real problem of Illinois’ broken tax policy and waste time debating punitive measures that would hurt Illinois’ economy, increase taxes for local property owners and diminish the constitutionally protected benefits of those who never missed their payment and didn’t cause this issue, Springfield’s inaction costs Illinois $17.3 million dollars in much needed new revenue every day. In addition to the loss of new revenue, Springfield’s continued misguided actions deprive the majority of Illinois taxpayers a tax break that could stimulate our struggling economy.

You’re right Governor. It’s time for politicians in Springfield to stop dilly dallying.

- MiC


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