Can Illinois balance its budget without RAISING taxes?

Budget

We absolutely can balance the budget without raising taxes. Raising taxes without structural reforms like the legislature did last year will actually make it more difficult to balance the budget. Rather than enacting reforms to improve government efficiency and encourage job creation and economic growth, the legislature doubled down on the same failed economic and fiscal policies that have caused Illinois to bleed jobs and population in recent decades. We can — and must — balance the budget by transforming the way government operates, reforming the pension system, and growing the economy, which will bring in more tax revenue.

We absolutely can balance the budget without raising taxes. Raising taxes without structural reforms like the legislature did last year will actually make it more difficult to balance the budget. Rather than enacting reforms to improve government efficiency and encourage job creation and economic growth, the legislature doubled down on the same failed economic and fiscal policies that have caused Illinois to bleed jobs and population in recent decades. We can — and must — balance the budget by transforming the way government operates, reforming the pension system, and growing the economy, which will bring in more tax revenue.

Yes, lawmakers can and must balance the state budget without raising taxes. In fact, they have a moral imperative to do so. Politicians only want more tax hikes so they can avoid politically difficult spending reforms.

It's been far easier for politicians to raid taxpayer wallets than to fix pensions, streamline Medicaid, or consolidate duplicative governments. The pressure to reform disappears every time new money fills the state's coffers. The results of the 2011 tax increase proved that. Lawmakers promised a tax hike would fix Illinois' problems. But 90 percent of the new tax revenues were consumed by pensions. Nothing was reformed and Illinois problems worsened.

Residents' wallets are being treated the same way today. Illinois politicians — including Governor Rauner — got the massive, 32-percent tax hike they wanted last year. But they've already spent that money and more. The state expects a $3 billion year deficit next year despite $5 billion in new income tax revenues. More taxes cannot fix a state whose fundamental problem has been spending more than its people can afford, year after year.

Illinois should stop the unfair practice of balancing the budget on the backs of working families who can least afford it. A progressive income tax will modernize and reform our tax code to make sure people who make more pay a higher rate, and people who make less pay a lower rate.

I would be opposed to raising taxes as I have said before. The state government needs to tighten its belt rather than the taxpayer.

Yes, Illinois can balance the state budget without raising taxes on the poor and working class people. The only new taxes to be raised would be the Progressive Tax and the Financial Transaction Tax.

No. Not if we intend to pay our unpaid bills and service our bonded indebtedness, satisfy our pension obligations, provide aid to local school districts, resume funding state universities, maintain and operate our transportation systems, provide for public safety and take care of our less-fortunate citizens. Legislators and governors in decades past have ignored some of these responsibilities. Ignoring them doesn't make them go away. The debts are still there. They are ours. We have a duty to pay them off, and that costs money. However, my graduated income tax proposal — while it is, all told, a revenue increase — shifts some of the state's tax burden away from working-class residents, and onto those for whom our economic system works very well.

While our state could certainly slash vital programs, not raise taxes, and call the budget balanced, our families deserve better. If we're going to pass a budget that fully funds schools, services, infrastructure, and other needs, it is possible to balance spending without raising taxes for middle-class and working families, as long as we build a fair tax system in which corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share. Balancing our budget isn't just about raising and cutting taxes; it's about designing a more equitable system. If we still need to cut spending after raising revenue from progressive sources, it is imperative that we find ways to increase efficiency and streamline government programs rather than hastily cutting programs and services.

Yes, lawmakers can and must balance the state budget without raising taxes. In fact, they have a moral imperative to do so. Politicians only want more tax hikes so they can avoid politically difficult spending reforms.

It's been far easier for politicians to raid taxpayer wallets than to fix pensions, streamline Medicaid, or consolidate duplicative governments. The pressure to reform disappears every time new money fills the state's coffers. The results of the 2011 tax increase proved that. Lawmakers promised a tax hike would fix Illinois' problems. But 90 percent of the new tax revenues were consumed by pensions. Nothing was reformed and Illinois problems worsened.

Residents' wallets are being treated the same way today. Illinois politicians — including Governor Rauner — got the massive, 32-percent tax hike they wanted last year. But they've already spent that money and more. The state expects a $3 billion year deficit next year despite $5 billion in new income tax revenues. More taxes cannot fix a state whose fundamental problem has been spending more than its people can afford, year after year.

Illinois should stop the unfair practice of balancing the budget on the backs of working families who can least afford it. A progressive income tax will modernize and reform our tax code to make sure people who make more pay a higher rate, and people who make less pay a lower rate.

I would be opposed to raising taxes as I have said before. The state government needs to tighten its belt rather than the taxpayer.

Yes, Illinois can balance the state budget without raising taxes on the poor and working class people. The only new taxes to be raised would be the Progressive Tax and the Financial Transaction Tax.

No. Not if we intend to pay our unpaid bills and service our bonded indebtedness, satisfy our pension obligations, provide aid to local school districts, resume funding state universities, maintain and operate our transportation systems, provide for public safety and take care of our less-fortunate citizens. Legislators and governors in decades past have ignored some of these responsibilities. Ignoring them doesn't make them go away. The debts are still there. They are ours. We have a duty to pay them off, and that costs money. However, my graduated income tax proposal — while it is, all told, a revenue increase — shifts some of the state's tax burden away from working-class residents, and onto those for whom our economic system works very well.

While our state could certainly slash vital programs, not raise taxes, and call the budget balanced, our families deserve better. If we're going to pass a budget that fully funds schools, services, infrastructure, and other needs, it is possible to balance spending without raising taxes for middle-class and working families, as long as we build a fair tax system in which corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share. Balancing our budget isn't just about raising and cutting taxes; it's about designing a more equitable system. If we still need to cut spending after raising revenue from progressive sources, it is imperative that we find ways to increase efficiency and streamline government programs rather than hastily cutting programs and services.