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January 7, 2011

Illinois Senate
Illinois House

Dear Legislator,

Last night’s reported deal between Gov. Quinn, Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton will be devastating to taxpayers and the state’s economy should it come to fruition. I urge you to oppose and vote against this combination of tax increases and massive debt for the good of the taxpayers, your state’s economy, and the democratic process.

The economic impact of this deal is well-known and has been discussed ad nauseum. A vote in favor of a 75 percent income tax increase and a 102 percent cigarette tax increase will cripple Illinois’ economy. Those complicit in this scheme do so willfully.

But equally depressing is the co-conspirators are executing such a back-room deal with no regard for democracy, transparency, or good faith. We are less than one week from swearing in the legislature voters chose to grapple with Illinois’ grave structural budget problems. Yet Democratic Leadership is hell-bent on ushering through a tax increase larger than anyone had previously imagined before that happens. They are expressly ignoring the will of the people.

It is true that Gov. Quinn campaigned on an income tax increase. And his 33 percent tax hike was shocking enough. But had he revealed his true intentions – a 75 percent broad-based income tax increase, a 102 percent cigarette tax increase, and billions of dollars in yet more borrowing – we would not be having this conversation today. This “compromise” is built on typical lies coming from typical politicians from typical Springfield, Illinois.

If any of you are considering supporting this deal because it comes with spending restraint, do not be fooled. The spending cap proposed by Speaker Madigan is a ploy to give cover to tax hikers, and does not represent reform in the slightest. This “cap” will take place under an inflated spending baseline, as it will go into effect years after the tax increases do. It exempts pension payments (not that Gov. Quinn has ever been keen on making them). And it allows for lawmakers to opt out in periods of fluidly-defined “emergency.”

By voting for this multi-billion dollar tax increase without even tackling the issue of the state’s unsustainable pension obligations or imposing a serious limitation on its spending trajectory, you are doing a disservice to the entire state for years to come. Don’t.


Grover Norquist