Illinois temporarily raised its income tax from 3 to 5 percent in 2011 and has put nearly all of our new tax dollars into its failing pension system. Next year the state will spend almost as much on its five pension systems as it does on education.
HB2375 was introduced February 20th in the General Assembly in Springfield by Representative Lou Lang, D-Skokie, to make that income tax increase permanent. The tax was scheduled to be reduced in 2015.
Workers would be required to pay 3% more of their salaries toward their pensions and their retirement age would be raised to 67 for all five pensions systems, but there would be no decreases in the pension benefits.
“We need a pension plan that will not end up in the courts,” he said. “It’s a plan that doesn’t take anyone’s benefits away.”
State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) pointed out that the income tax increase was sold by Democrats as a temporary way to pay off state bills, fix Illinois’ structural deficit, and generally fix the state’s fiscal problems.
He said that extending the tax would not only be a betrayal of the Illinois taxpayers, but emphasized the additional 2011 tax revenues have not been used as promised to pay down Illinois’ overwhelming debt – billions to be paid to state vendors, Medicaid, etc. and $95B in pension debt.
“Raising more revenue in order to throw money at the issue isn’t going to address the systemic problems associated with the state’s retirement systems, and a recent poll taken by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute shows that a majority of Illinois voters do not support an indefinite extension of the income tax increase,” said Dillard.
The poll was 63% against making the over $7B increase in taxes permanent!