As the state of Illinois careens into financial free fall, the state House of Representatives passed a bill on Sunday raising taxes by a whopping 33% and approving the state budget. Neither action will do anything to ameliorate the state’s financial woes.
Here are five things you need to know about the tax hike and spending bill passed by the Illinois House on Sunday.
1. The tax increases amount to $5 billion. Personal income taxes would rise from 3.75% to 4.95% and the corporate tax rate would increase from 5.25% to 7%. On the other hand, the bill widens the scope of the state’s earned income tax credit.
The tax increases passed by a margin of 72-45, one vote ahead of the 71-vote threshold needed to pass them. Fifteen Republicans voted for them.
2. The budget will spend slightly over $36 billion. This is actually $400 million less than what the House Democrats originally proposed and will reduce spending for colleges by 5%. The spending bill passed by a margin of 81-34.
3. The tax increases might not pass the Senate. The Chicago Tribune notes that “when the Senate approved its own tax hike in late May, no Republicans voted for it and several Democrats voted against it.” But given the financial dire straits facing Illinois, it’s possible the Senate will buckle on it.
4. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) has threatened to veto it. Rauner has stated that he would only sign a tax increase if it’s temporary and accompanied with a freeze on property taxes as well as other reforms such as term limits for the state legislature. The House did not meet any of those standards on Sunday.
Rauner issued a statement that read, “Illinois families don’t deserve to have more of the hard-earned money taken from them when the Legislature has done little to restore confidence in government or grow jobs.”
5. The tax increases and spending bill won’t stop Illinois from veering into bankruptcy. As The Daily Wire‘s Elliott Hamilton has explained, the state has an unpaid backlog of nearly $15 billion and faces $130 billion in unfunded liabilities due to the state’s unsustainable pension system.
“The actual cause of much of the state’s financial problems originated in 2011 when the state, led by Gov. Pat Quinn (D), decided to hike the tax rate to address a looming pension shortfall as well as offset a $12 billion deficit to account for a $35 billion state-wide budget,” wrote Hamilton. “Since then, the Democrat-led state failed to reform the pension plans.”
The House clearly hasn’t learned their lesson; it remains to be seen if the Senate has and if Rauner will eventually sign a bill that tackles pensions. Otherwise, Illinois could be the first state to file for bankruptcy.