Long calls tax hike, revenue bill 'cart before the horse'
Rep. Jerry Lee Long (R-Streator) told the House on Sunday that voting for a tax increase and revenue bill without having a budget in place is like “getting the cart before the horse.”
Illinois must fix itself before asking more from taxpayers, he said.
“We have to make [the state] business-friendly, encourage economic growth to come to the state of Illinois so we that can all prosper,” Long said. “We can’t pay for our public sector jobs and our social programs if we’re pushing people out of here and our tax base continues to shrink. It’s impossible, folks.”
Senate Bill 9, which the House passed later in the day, would collect $5.4 billion through a permanent 32 percent tax increase. The personal state income tax rate would go to 4.95 percent from 3.75 percent and the corporate tax rate would rise to 7 percent from 5.25 percent.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has vowed to veto SB9.
“I will veto [House Speaker] Mike Madigan’s permanent 32 percent tax hike,” Rauner said in a press release. “Illinois families don’t deserve to have more of the hard-earned money taken from them when the legislature has done little to restore confidence in government or grow jobs. Illinois families deserve more jobs, property tax relief and term limits. But tonight, they got more of the same.”
Long made similar comments, saying a tax hike will not alleviate the concerns of the state budget and finances.
“In order to be able to maintain the way that we operate in the state of Illinois and take care of those very people, we have to increase our tax base by encouraging economic growth,” he said. “I see none of that in any of this.”
Illinois stands at a precarious position as it enters its third straight year without a budget despite countless hours of negotiations. Long said lawmakers should focus on making the state work for people.
“If we want to make Illinois better again, if we want to bring jobs to the state of Illinois, if we want to make sure that family members that are teachers and cops [can still live in Illinois], we need to have an economy that can sustain such people as our publics sector union jobs,” he said.
Illinois Republican Chairman Tim Schneider said SB9 was not built out of bipartisanship nor “the product of negotiation and compromise focused on pro-growth, citizen-empowering reforms.”
Fifteen House Republicans voted for the income tax increase: Steve Andersson (R-Geneva), Terri Bryant (R- Murphysboro), John Cavaletto (R-Salem), C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville), Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), Norine Hammond (R-Macomb), David Harris (R-Arlington Heights), Chad Hays (R-Catlin), Charlie Meier (R-Highland), Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston), Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley), Mike Unes (R- East Peoria), Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (R-Leland Grove) and David Reis (R-Ste. Marie).
SB9 passed 72-45 and is now in the Senate.