Led by His Highness, House Speaker Michael Madigan, Democratic leaders in the state Legislature have concocted a 75 percent increase in the state income tax.
Madigan left it to Senate President John Cullerton to explain the deal; Madigan himself declined comment on what was being presented to House Democrats for their rubber stamp. His spokesman Steve Brown said "things are progressing, but I'm not prepared to offer any details at this time, and I certainly wouldn't predict when there might be a vote."
Madigan, exhibiting his usual destain for the public, had come up with this package of crippling new taxes, in secret with Gov. Pat Quinn and Cullerton and who knows who else. Sure, Cullerton said, house members and senators could change a few things if they wanted.
As far as I know, legislation has not yet been introduced so the rest of us--mere citizens and taxpayers--don't know exactly how we are about to be shafted. No public hearings; just a rushed vote to get it passed in the next few days in the lame duck session by some lawmakers who, either defeated or retiring, have no accountability to voters. That's exactly the same thing that Democrats are complaining about as Republicans try to push through a quick vote on repealing Obamacare.
What we do know of the "proposal" is the state's 3 percent personal income-tax rate would rise to 5.25 percent for four years, then fall to 3.75 percent--in sum, a 75 percent increase. Income tax on businesses would "temporarily" increase to 8.4 percent, from 4.8 percent.
Note should be taken that when Quinn campaigned for election he proposed "only" a 33 percent increase in the personal income tax--to 4 percent from 3 percent. After his election, he declared he has received a mandate (with 47 percent of the vote) for that tax increase, never mentioning a 75 percent increase. In fact, when Quinn's budget director, in a moment of honesty during the campaign, foresaw an bigger increase, he basically was told to shut up.
Quinn, from the beginning of his career as a political activist, has elevated himself to the high station of a purist and populist, many cuts above the typical politician. I wonder how he now can look himself in the mirror.
And how those who voted for him like him now.
You mean like voting down the tax increase entirely? Or even cutting it in half or a quarter? Rank and file Democratic lawmakers standing up to the guys who control their campaign spending? Especially now that campaign contributions to the rank and file have been limited, but not to the leaders themselves? Can them stupid if you want, but you can't call them disloyal.