Illinois Review –

By Ben VanMetre – 

When lawmakers passed the record 2011 tax hike they went on record making promises to taxpayers about the purpose and temporary nature of the tax hike. Now it’s clear that those promises were actually lies.

When passing the tax hike, Gov. Pat Quinn said: “We have some temporary tax increases that are designed to pay our bills, get Illinois back on fiscal sound footing and make sure that our state has a strong economy.”

And Senate President John Cullerton said: “The purpose of this bill is to raise enough money so that we can continue to pay our pensions without borrowing the money, to pay off our debt, to have enough money to pay the interest on that debt, and for the first time ever, establish caps on how much we can appropriate. We even are going to change our rules to basically turn over to the minority party the right to dictate whether or not there will be an extra spending over that cap. And it is going to work.”

But now Cullerton says that it’s time to honestly face the future about sunsetting the 2011 tax hike. CBS Chicago reports:

The temporary income tax increase that raised the state’s rate from 3 to 5 percent is set to expire … Senator John Cullerton said anyone running for governor should be open and honest about what happens after that.

“How are they going to make up for the $5 billion in reduction once the income tax goes down. I mean, I am just asking. That should be the discussion including the Democrats,” said Cullerton. “Governor Edgar proved that you don’t have to lie. You can say that I think we should keep it at a certain rate.”

Cullerton suggests officials don’t have to lie – they just have to be honest about making the tax hike permanent. But the tax hike is legally required to sunset in 2015. It’s not just a promise; it’s in the legal statute. And making it permanent would be dishonest to taxpayers, who still plan for the tax hike to be temporary.

Cullerton also strategically places the blame for potentially making the tax hike permanent on people who aren’t even in office yet. It’s not current officials who should be honest; it’s those running for governor, according to Cullerton. That lets the lawmakers off the hook who actually voted for the tax hike and lied about its temporary nature.

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