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Norquist to Gov. Pat Quinn: Pick a Flawed Income Tax Hike and Stick With It


Posted by Joshua Culling on Tuesday, August 31st, 2010, 2:42 PM PERMALINK


PDF of press release.

Today Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, called on Gov. Pat Quinn to be up front and honest about the true size of the income tax hike he has planned for Illinois families and job providers. In a letter to the governor, Norquist cited Quinn’s four separate calls for an income tax increase, each specific plan different than its predecessor.

Quinn’s different proposals, from Norquist’s letter:

  • May of 2009: 50 percent income tax increase. This proposal would have increased the income tax rate from 3 percent to 4.5 percent and taken roughly $4 billion from the private economy near the peak of Illinois’ recession. It failed in the legislature, largely because of voter disapproval by a 30 point margin.
  • March of 2010: 33 percent income tax increase.  Believing it was the size of his previous plan that turned off constituents, Gov. Quinn presented a scaled-down income tax hike that would have increased the rate to 4 percent, a $3 billion tax increase. This also went nowhere.
  • July 2010: “secret” 67 percent income tax increase. Quinn’s plan to wait until after the election to impose this whopping $6 billion tax hike was clever until it was revealed in an interview with his budget director David Vaught: “We’re going to pass a tax increase in January,” he said. “We expect it is going to be very substantial.” Taxpayers appreciate his candor much more than the governor’s subsequent scurried attempt to reject his assertion.
  • August 2010: 33 percent income tax increase. Last week Quinn returned to his previous call to increase the rate to 4 percent, calling it “a pretty good bargain for taxpayers.”

Norquist continued:

“Your constant shape-shifting on this issue is confusing to voters. We would appreciate it if you could stick to one flawed income tax proposal, rather than constantly changing your mind. Taxpayers deserve to know precisely how much of their money you seek to extract from their wallets, as well as the number of jobs you wish to force out of state.”

Quinn’s opponent for re-election, Bill Brady, has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written promise to oppose and veto all tax increases.

To see Grover's letter to Gov. Quinn, see below. For a PDF, click here.

August 31, 2010

 Dear Gov. Quinn:

I am writing in hopes of clearing up some inconsistency in your call for higher taxes on Illinois families and job providers. To be sure, your insistence on tax increases has been ever-present throughout your tenure as governor. But the size and scope of your income tax hike has fluctuated roughly as often as your state’s abysmal bond rating.

A summary of your various specific tax hike proposals follows:

  • May of 2009: 50 percent income tax increase. This proposal would have increased the income tax rate from 3 percent to 4.5 percent and taken roughly $4 billion from the private economy near the peak of Illinois’ recession. It failed in the legislature, largely because of voter disapproval by a 30 point margin.
  • March of 2010: 33 percent income tax increase.  Believing it was the size of your previous plan that turned off constituents, you presented a scaled down income tax hike that would have increased the rate to 4 percent, a $3 billion tax increase. This also went nowhere.
  • July 2010: “secret” 67 percent income tax increase. Your plan to wait until after the election to impose this whopping $6 billion tax hike was clever until it was revealed in an interview with your budget director David Vaught. “We’re going to pass a tax increase in January,” he said. “We expect it is going to be very substantial.” Taxpayers appreciate his candor much more than your subsequent scurried attempt to reject his assertion.
  • August 2010: 33 percent income tax increase. Last week you returned to your previous call to increase the rate to 4 percent, calling it “a pretty good bargain for taxpayers.”

At Americans for Tax Reform, we reject an income tax hike for Illinois out of hand. With unemployment at 10.3 percent, families and small business owners simply cannot afford it. By attempting to raise the income tax, you are eroding Illinois’ clearest comparative advantage to other states in attracting jobs and promoting economic growth. Steadfast refusal to increase the income tax is the one thing your predecessor got right.

Your constant shape-shifting on this issue is confusing to voters. We would appreciate it if you could stick to one flawed income tax proposal, rather than constantly changing your mind. Taxpayers deserve to know precisely how much of their money you seek to extract from their wallets, as well as the number of jobs you wish to force out of state.

Earlier this month, you said of your opponent: "If you're running for governor and you want to be a good governor, you've got to tell the people the truth before the election...I want to be a governor that tells the truth all the time, before and after the election."

Your opponent, Bill Brady, has been consistent and honest in his rejection of tax increases to fix the state budget debacle, understanding that overspending, not revenue, is the problem in Springfield. While I hope that you will come to terms with the true nature of the problem eventually, in the meantime, please stick with one income tax hike scheme so that we can properly inform taxpayers of the scale of the economic devastation should you win re-election.

Onward,

Grover Norquist

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