Illinois Policy Institute: Merry Christmas and a Year in Review

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

How many people do you know who are out of work or whose business is struggling to meet payroll during this holiday season? I know quite a few, and it is heartbreaking. The good news is that Illinois’s own President Obama and Senator Dick Durbin understand that raising taxes now would be a disaster. Check the links to watch these very brief videos that demonstrate all too rare wisdom coming from them.

Now, we just need a little wisdom in Springfield. Right now Gov. Quinn, Speaker Madigan, and Senate President Cullerton are negotiating behind closed doors to put coal in your stocking by raising your taxes by 67%–$6 billion! How crazy is this when even President Obama and Senator Durbin understand how devastating that will be to all our friends looking for work? Under the new federal law, which includes a payroll tax cut, a preschool teacher and a firefighter earning a combined $80,000 with two kids would save $800 in 2011 federal taxes. That’s money they can use to purchase a new water heater, buy winter jackets, or put toward college savings. But not anymore if Quinn, Madigan, and Cullerton take it away–they want not just that $800 but about twice that–$1600! So much for the water heater…I guess cold showers are the order of the day…unless you and I get busy to let them know we don’t need a tax hike to fix Illinois’s budget woes. You can go here to learn more about what you can do to help stop the tax hike: www.illinoispolicy.org/taxhike

John Tillman
CEO, Illinois Policy Institute

Santa Says No!
Even Santa is not immune to what’s going on in Washington. He’s not expanding and growing his 1,700-year-old business because of unpredictable rhetoric and policies in Washington, a complicated tax code, and health care reform that are giving him cause for concern.

A Year of Spotlights
The Institute’s Spotlight on Spending Series puts elected officials on the spot, urging them to ask for every spending item, “Is this the best use of taxpayers’ money?” Some of our most popular reports in this series, which comes from our Government Reform Center, include: state legislator pay, Chicago’s traffic control aides, the State Fair, and public vs. private sector compensation.

The most recent Spotlight focuses on Illinois’s inability to pay vendors on time–one of the many factors destabilizing businesses with state contracts while at the same time hurting Illinois’s most vulnerable. If it’s not there already, Illinois is close to achieving “deadbeat” status when it comes to paying its liabilities in a timely manner.

Liberty at Your Doorstep
By now, many of you have probably already received our quarterly newsletter, The Compass, in your mailbox. If not, we have also published it online. This edition highlights a prolific year for the Illinois Policy Institute (including how our Spotlight on Spending Series has shined the light on $9.4 billion in state government spending) and looks forward to next year with our Wish List for 2011. What do we most want to see in the new year? Find out here.

Once you’ve flipped through this Compass, please take our readership survey so we can learn how this publication can better serve you in 2011.

Have a Great Holiday and New Year!
Though we will be vigilant in keeping tabs on the potential tax hike coming out of Springfield, some of our staff will be taking next week off to recharge our batteries and be ready to advance the ball for liberty in 2011. We will be updating our facebook page, however, so make sure you’re a fan to get our updates!

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