201 Miles to Springfield: John Cullerton makes friends of easily impressed newspaper

September 13, 2010
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IL Sen President John Cullerton (D-Ravenswood Manor) met with the editorial board of the Coles County newspapers in the Lee chain: the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier, explaining to the newspaper boards “Republicans have refused to offer to help solve the budget issues. They won’t identify specific cuts, he said. They won’t vote for more taxes. They won’t approve borrowing. He said they wouldn’t even vote to appropriate money the state has,” according to a JG-TC editorial praising Cullerton just for showing up in the community 200 miles south of his district.

It all seemed to be a love fest by the unprepared newspaper editorial board. Cullerton and IL House Speaker Mike Madigan have control of Springfield now, with their majorities to force the budget issues, if there were the will to do so. And there is a Democratic governor to sign a tax increase into law.

But they are choosing to avoid making decisions on the budget till after the general election.

The President should explain why politicians are waiting till after the general election to deal with the budget issue. What is it about their solution that they do not want to tell us now?

In addition, Cullerton “disputed the notion that Illinois tax rates are higher than neighbors like Indiana. If Illinois adopted Indiana’s 3.4-percent income tax, Indiana’s corporate income tax, Indiana’s higher state portion of sales tax, and taxed services like Indiana, Illinois would realize an additional $5.7 billion in revenue per year.”

According to the Tax Foundation Illinois tax payers paid 9.3 percent, ranking 30th among states. Indiana tax payers paid 9.4 percent, ranking them 28th among states (number one is the highest taxed state). So, on its face, the President’s statement is true. But that is poor comfort for Chicagoans paying among the highest sales tax in the country on purchases and facing an unknown increase in the income tax.

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