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One year, $5 billion later, are Illinois finances better off?

Belleville News Democrat

Saturday, July 7, 2018  |  Editorial  |  By the BND Editorial Board

Governor (44) , Taxes, income (86)
We are three days past Independence Day, which our calendar tells us is the first anniversary of Illinois Tax Dependency Day.

One year ago today, Illinois lawmakers overturned Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto and created a permanent state income tax hike. Instead of taking 3.75 percent of your income, Illinois raised the rate to 4.95 percent and took $5 billion more from us all. The median household in Illinois paid an extra $732.

By the way, that $732 doesn't include the higher prices you pay as a result of the corporate tax hike. Company taxes went up by one-third just like individual tax rates, but those costs always get passed right back to consumers in the form of higher prices, lower wages or fewer hires.

The state credit rating remains a click above junk bond status, the worst in the nation, so our borrowing costs more. We are property-, sales- and income-taxed more than anyone else in the nation. We owe so much to bill collectors, in debt to pay off bill collectors, for regular debt, for public pensions and for retiree health care that each taxpayer is obligated to pay $50,800 more than their current taxes.

But here's a real reason to celebrate Illinois Tax Dependency Day: It not only recognizes Illinois' tax-and-spend dependency, it creates dependency in others.

Since the moment the tax hike took effect, Illinois saw its job growth drop to less than half the national rate. We also saw the length of unemployment increase by 20 percent.

On Independence Day we wave the flag. On Illinois Tax Dependency Day we wave goodbye, to those 33,700 fewer Illinois working-age residents.