Wheeler: Illinoisans are leaving, and budget is another shove out the door
If Illinoisans needed another excuse for fleeing the state, they got it in the recently passed state budget, Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) contends.
“All of us are hearing from our constituents that they can’t afford any more taxes,” Wheeler told the House during heated debate before the budget passed. “Illinois is a slow-growth state right now. We are not competitive. Our people are hurting. Yet now we are asking our shrinking tax base to pay more taxes. A lot more. And that is without real reforms that provide direct relief.”
After the debate, the House voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes of SB6, SB9 and SB42, giving lllinois its first budget in two years.
The bills will provide Illinois with a $36 billion spending plan made possible in part by a permanent 32 percent increase on individual and corporate taxes. Illinoisans will now pay 4.95 percent instead of 3.75 percent on personal income and corporations will pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent.
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) needed 71 votes to approve the overrides. SB9 passed 71-42, SB6 passed 74-37 and SB42 passed 71-41. Wheeler voted against the overrides.
Although passage of the measures comes as a relief to human service programs, state construction projects and those who play the lottery, Wheeler sees them as another shove in the back to residents thinking about leaving.
“So guess what happens?" she said. "We’re pushing people out the door to Indiana, in my border district to Wisconsin, to Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky. I suspect strongly that there are many in this room who still do not believe that people of Illinois are leaving the state. I believe it. You should believe it. We’re doing the wrong thing here.”
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider also said the budget is wrong.
“Passing a 32 percent tax increase on the hard-working families of Illinois without any semblance of reform is absolute insanity,” Scheider said. “It hasn’t worked before, and it won’t work now.”
Schneider asserted that voters “will hold those politicians accountable for choosing Mike Madigan over the people of Illinois.”
Rauner called the overrides another step in “Illinois' never-ending tragic trail of tax hikes."