Final Countdown: Less Than 2 Weeks Before the Income Tax Debate

Reboot Illinois and the Union League Club of Chicago host a debate on Feb. 28 on the future of the income tax in Illinois, featuring a suburban Republican and Chicago Democrat.

What’s going to happen to our income taxes in Illinois? Should we switch to a progressive tax system with different rates that rise as incomes go up? Should we maintain our flat system? Should our rate remain at the “temporary” 5 percent for individuals or should it drop down to 3.75 percent as the law now says it should.

It's safe to say the income tax debate is THE hot topic in Illinois this year.

Reboot Illinois is partnering with the Union League Club of Chicago to host a debate on the issue. It's the morning of Feb. 28 at the Union League Club in Chicago. 

We've got a couple of the best, most articulate and thoughtful lawmakers ready to argue the pros and cons, the ups, the downs, the ins and outs for us: State Representative David McSweeney, a suburban Republican, and State Representative Christian Mitchell, a city Democrat.


We look forward to seeing you there to learn about this important issue in Illinois.

The views expressed in this post are those of Reboot Illinois and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch or its editors.

Learn more and Sound Off here

IllinoisLibertarian February 18, 2014 at 07:41 AM
How about no income tax?
Jordan S. Zoot February 18, 2014 at 08:01 AM
@IL one small problem......are you suggesting no public schools, no police or fire depts.....given that the schools suck up all of the property taxes and we have the highest sales taxes in the country there isn't a chance in hell that income taxes are going away any time soon. Having said that....since the public unions choose NOT to participate in public retirement [e.g. social security] its THEIR problem NOT ours. Since they gave to the DEMOCRAPS something like 30 to 1 greater than the Republicans and have always had leaders that squandered, mismanaged and stole from their pension funds, its THEIR problem. The Illinois legislature has an obligation to balance this cost by CUTTING PENSIONS and LOWERING BENEFITS not RAISING TAXES on those of us in the private sector that have contributed so social security and create jobs. If the legislature increases taxes MANY OF US WILL CONSIDER MOVING OUT OF ILLINOIS rather than pay someone else's freight. Unions are a form of organized welfare that not all of us support. Let's truly hope that Bruce Rauner gets elected rather than Gov. Jello so things actually start to move forward.
T McQuillen February 18, 2014 at 08:32 AM
Well written. For our part we have decided to leave this state. Taxes do reach a point where it simply is to painful to stay in Illinois. Sure teachers, firemen, police indeed all public employees deserve a livable wage with benefits. Unfortunately when the public employees are making more money and retiring with more funds than the private sector who pay their wages and benefits in the form of soaring taxes the system is broken!
Herc February 18, 2014 at 10:06 AM
Taxes and entitlements that's all this state knows.
Matt B. February 18, 2014 at 11:22 AM
Herc, one correction. It's taxes and handouts. Not entitlements.
Herc February 18, 2014 at 11:27 AM
Matt I consider entitlements handouts.
Jordan S. Zoot February 18, 2014 at 11:45 AM
Entitlements are payments like reparations for slavery? Which is fine if the offset is room and board.
Matt B. February 18, 2014 at 11:45 AM
ok wasn't sure how you classified them
Grumpy Old Man February 18, 2014 at 11:52 AM
Jordan - the geniuses who re-wrote the constitution in 1971 provided a provision which prevents the pensions of the hogs at the trough (public employees and public officials) from being reduced. We need a constitutional convention to rid ourselves of that nonsense. Daley is collecting two pensions at the public's expense (and he is not the only crook who does). The constitution should eliminate all public employee and public official pensions except for first responders. And term limits, especially for the Mayor of Chicago. No responsible business man should ever relocate his business into this state until the hogs at the trough are put under control, income taxes are either eliminated or reduced and by constitutional amendment limited and raised only by referendum. I'm not holding my breath.
Gary February 18, 2014 at 11:59 AM
We've already covered this. Returning the rate to 3.75% is "the law of the land", just like ObamaCare, so it can NOT be changed and should NOT be debated! Anyone who insists on debating this has already been labelled a racist extremist and cast out of decent society by all the intelligent reasonable people. Why are we doing this?
Grumpy Old Man February 18, 2014 at 12:18 PM
LOL. Are you calling the progressives who want a progressive income tax racist extremists? The rate was 3% before the party of donkey raised to 5%. Where did 3.75% come from? Are you telling us that we have no right to debate or discuss whom are to be our representatives, what laws are to be passed and whether those laws are for the public good? This is not the Hermit Kingdom or Obamaland. Get a life.
John Stephen February 18, 2014 at 01:03 PM
The state pension system is flawed as those who benefit from it the most have direct control over it. Does my private sector employer allow me to decide what benefits I should receive or the size my own raises? No, therefore the taxpayers should have the ability to approve or disallow any increases or changes in the pension system and legislative pay through a referendum on the next ballot. The first thing to go would be the double dipping SOB's who work until their 50 and then get another state or municipal job and collect a second full pension - you should get one, only one and OK it can be the bigger of the two, but no more. Push for a Constitutional Convention to fix this mess, now!
Jordan S. Zoot February 18, 2014 at 01:04 PM
There may be another alternative.....how about having the State of Illinois issuing its own currency....it would be valid in Illinois only and would solely be issued to pay for pensions. It would be redeemable at 60 cents on the dollar [in honor of the old 3/5 clause], and could be spent to pay taxes, fees to state and local government, the purchase of tobacco and liquor. It would also become worthless on the death of the holder so it couldn't be the subject of a bequest. Its about as reasonable of an idea as raising the Illinois income tax, or Obamacare. The last prong of the equation would be a combination of term limits and voting in Federal and Illinois elections where people get a vote which is proportionate to the Federal INCOME taxes that they pay. Notice I said INCOME taxes and not employment taxes. Hence, anyone that wasn't earning enough to actually pay income taxes would be disenfranchised on the notion that if they weren't contributing to the solution they didn't get a say in the outcome. I am sure that many of those that vote for the JackAss party will love this one.
Tom February 18, 2014 at 01:32 PM
I always love hearing these union people talk about needing more "revenue" . You know what revenue means? It means more taxes for the people who carry the water every day. I kick myself every day for not becoming a teacher....I wouldn't have a care in the world. Heck I'd be retiring at 52 and then feed at the trough for the rest of my life!
Greg February 18, 2014 at 02:05 PM
Accountability. When our elected reps start becoming accountable--whether they be Dems or Reps, then I will agree to a "permanent" tax increase.
IllinoisLibertarian February 18, 2014 at 02:52 PM
Erase pensions. Replace with a 401k and pay into/be able to receive social security benefits.
Jordan S. Zoot February 18, 2014 at 02:55 PM
@IL would you suggest wiping out pensions and social security for everyone that has paid in up to this point and just let them start from scratch. Perhaps let them roll over the amount that they have contributed to social security but give them no credit for earnings during their lifetime. and let them have whatever benefit the amount in their 401(k) would "purchase". That's a very interesting proposal...though I would bet that some older folks and people that don't earn >$150K per year are going to be a bit unhappy. I guess that's the price they are going to have to pay to get this done right.
Jordan S. Zoot February 18, 2014 at 03:16 PM
Gary...one small problem with your statement....the tax rate was 3% not 3.75% so part of the point that Grumpy was making is that there never was a 3.75% rate as such your statement is nonsense.
Gary February 18, 2014 at 03:18 PM
@Grumpy - I am saying that political debate on current law at the Federal level has been eradicated through the assertion of the "it's the law of the land" clause. Anyone who questions ObamaCare is called a racist and is told it is the law of the land so there's nothing that can be done other than simply accept it. OK, fine. Then I invoke the same "law of the land" clause in Illinois and anyone who questions our current law, which states the income tax drops back down to 3.75%, must be an ignorant racist. Democrats make the rules. I just play the game.
Grumpy Old Man February 18, 2014 at 04:21 PM
Oh, your comment was sarcastic. I misunderstood. My error. But I don't care to play Obama's I know better than you and if you don't like it I'll sick the IRS on you. I made the mistake of voting for him in 2008 because McCain drove me to distraction with his flipping and inability to stand up for what he believed (or purported to) but I didn't make that error in 2012 not that my vote mattered. I don't ever think I will ever vote for a jackass again. They are beyond pathetic. The entire debate on taxes, pensions and the entire economic system is skewered by the self righteous attitude of Obama, the public employee unions, Emanuel and you are correct, any criticism is immediately labelled racist. Peace.
Jordan S. Zoot February 18, 2014 at 04:28 PM
How about Federal tax amnesty [where you have to have receipts from IRS to prove that you paid taxes on any accounts or US currency in your possession] coupled with a change in the color of US currency. The way it would work would be that after a four month amnesty period you would have to turn in your green money within thirty days to get new red currency and you would have to have receipts to prove that you paid taxes on everything in your possession. Once the thirty days were up the green money would be declared worthless. Anyone want to hazard a guess at how much the Feds would collect off of something like this?
Normal Person February 18, 2014 at 07:51 PM
Quinn "promised" the income tax was temporary. You mean to say he would lie to us?? Pensions are not the problem. If they had been funded as they should of been by politicians, all would be fine. Instead they took the money and used it to pander for votes and pet projects. What Illinois needs are more tax payers, not tax takers who never paid into the pot. Welfare, Link and more money for more babies needs to be slashed. Imagine the uproar if Illinois just wanted to do away with all Welfare completely?? There would be riots. Now they want to take away pensions from people who PAID into the system for 20 plus years....not people who TOOK from the system for their entire lives. Anyway...I do agree with the person who stated you should only be able to collect 1 public pension. I also think any type of pension spiking should be done away with. I like the idea of politicians not getting a pension and term limits. It is what George Washington would of wanted......
Herc February 18, 2014 at 09:20 PM
Problem in Illinois is we have more people on the dole than are paying taxes!
Walt February 19, 2014 at 11:18 AM
The state income tax increase was temporary. We should all insist that it return to that level. Its time to trim State government as other States (Wisconsin, Indiana, etc.) have done.
Gary February 19, 2014 at 11:29 AM
Let's compromise. Let's get the government out of all savings plans because they don't have any incentive to save money and blow all the cash buying votes. It happens every time. I'm willing to make this deal. If the public sector unions are willing to take back their plan from the State at it's current 40% real asset funding level so that taxpayers are no longer burdened by future obligations, then I am willing to take back my Social Security and Medicare from the Federal government at its current real asset funding level... which is 0%. If you are willing to take a 60% hit on your retirement, then I'll take a 100% hit, all to ensure that our children are not enslaved by these government run Ponzi schemes. Do we have a deal?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »