Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Illinois FY2013 General Fund Enacted Budget Analysis (Signed by Governor Quinn, June 30, 2012)

A Report Release from A Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (August 13, 2012):

“…Since the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability was formed in 2000, our organization has been analyzing the state of Illinois’ fiscal system with a focus on the General Fund. The reason for this focus is simple: the General Fund is what pays for the core services of Education, Healthcare, Human Services and Public Safety demanded by voters and taxpayers. Over this time period, the fiscal condition of the Illinois General Fund has continued to deteriorate from year to year, with deficits growing annually.

“Contrary to popular belief, the reason for the state’s deteriorating fiscal condition has had nothing to do with runaway spending. Indeed, the state has been cutting real spending on all four categories of core public services for over a decade and ranks well below the national average in critical Education and Human Service spending both in per-capita and capacity terms. The data show that Illinois has been slowly starving its public sector for years, lowering the quality of life for current residents and diminishing the state’s long-term economic competitiveness.

“The reason Illinois has allowed its fiscal system to deteriorate is simple: lack of political will to deal with the state’s flawed tax policy, which is the primary cause of the fiscal problems in Illinois. Indeed, the state’s tax policy is so flawed it cannot support the provision of the same level of services from one fiscal year into the next. At this juncture, further cuts in spending on core services will invariably fall hardest on school children and the poorest, most vulnerable Illinoisans, severely compromise the states’ long term economic development, and ultimately NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM. There is no magic way out. Illinois must enact comprehensive, meaningful and permanent tax reform that modernizes tax policy, makes it comport with the principles of a sound tax system and raises adequate revenue to fund core services into the future.

“The good news is that by expanding the state’s sales tax base to include services, amending the Constitution to permit graduated income tax rates and taxing some retirement income, Illinois can raise the additional revenue needed to sustain public service investments, while at the same time reducing or not changing the tax burden for the bottom 94 percent of families in Illinois with modest increases in tax burden for the top 6 percent of filers with incomes of over $150,000. The only thing standing in the way is politics.”

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