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Illinois' GOP Congressmen call Durbin, Duckworth hypocrites over tax comments

Illinois Watchdog.Org

Friday, December 1, 2017  |  Article  |  By Cole Lauterbach

Taxes, misc. (89)
Illinois’ U.S. Senators are warning their House GOP counterparts that voting for the tax reform bill will hurt the state’s working class. Republicans are wondering where this concern was when state Democrats were raising taxes this summer.

In a letter, Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth told Illinois’ GOP Congressmen that voting in favor of the coming tax reform bill will hurt the state’s working class families and bail out corporations.

On the Senate floor Tuesday, Durbin said the tax overhaul will ultimately hurt most Illinoisans.

“It’s no secret that this plan would bankroll massive tax cuts for the wealthiest people in America and the largest corporations, and it would raise taxes on middle-income families,” Durbin said.

"If that seems like contrary thinking to what most Americans were looking for, it is.”

The GOP delegation responded. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, wondered where Durbin and Duckworth were when their local party members were increasing income taxes on the working class families that they’re now so interested in.

“It was completely done by Democrat leadership down in Springfield and yet our senators said nothing to speak up for middle-class families,” he said, calling them “hypocritical.”

State-level Democrats, aided by a handful of defecting Republicans, overrode the veto of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner this summer to institute a permanent 33 percent income tax increase, costing the average Illinois household about $1,000 annually.

“The state legislature, led by Democrats, passed the largest [permanent] tax increase that Illinois has ever seen,” Rep. Mike Bost, R-Belleville, said. “What we’re trying to do is give them the largest tax reduction that they’ve ever had.”

The Republican congressmen also dispute Durbin's and Duckworth's claims about the tax reform plan being a tax hike.

Specifically, the Democratic senators warned GOP representatives that eliminating or scaling back the ability to deduct state and local taxes (SALT) would result in underfunded schools and other local services. The House GOP plan would reduce the deduction to $10,000.

“As the state with the fifth highest number of taxpayers who claim this deduction, Republican efforts to eliminate or gut SALT would hit Illinois especially hard,” the letter said.

The reason Illinoisans would feel the pain of a state and local tax deduction rollback is because they pay more to their local governments in taxes than all but a few states. Critics say the SALT deductions essentially amount to the federal government subsidizing high-tax taxes, which it ought not to do.

Bost said 78 percent of his district doesn’t even benefit from the deduction, since most claim the standard deduction, which would increase under the GOP plan.

The tax reform bill could come up for a vote in the Senate as soon as Friday.