Parkhurst says 'Stop the tax hikes'
"Stop tax hikes," Lindsay Parkhurst said recently. The Republican candidate for state House District 79 opposes all tax increases, including a proposed permanent income tax hike.
House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) supported imposing an income tax increase on Illinois residents and corporations, similar to the temporary increase implemented in 2011. The temporary tax hike was intended to pay the $8.5 billion backlog of unpaid bills, stabilize pension debts and put the Illinois economy back on track. Despite Madigan's and Cullerton's support, the General Assembly was unable to pass legislation to make the temporary tax increase permanent before it expired.
The Taxpayer Accountability and Budget Stabilization Act raised personal income taxes from 3 percent to 5 percent and corporate income taxes from 4.8 percent to 7 percent. Between 2011 and 2015, the increased income taxes added an additional $31.6 billion to the state's coffers, yet the unpaid bills were not paid off. When the tax hike expired, approximately $7 billion of the state's unpaid bill backlog remained.
"House Speaker Mike Madigan and company passed a massive 67 percent income tax hike in 2011, and they are hell-bent on doing it again," Parkhurst said.
Governor Bruce Rauner and Madigan squared off in 2015 over Rauner's proposed structural changes to the budget and pension reforms. Madigan refused to negotiate on any reforms, resulting in a budget impasse. Illinois did not pass a full budget that year. A bill to fund K-12 education was passed and school opened on time, but remaining bills were either paid per court order or prior appropriations, or added to the unpaid backlog of bills.
The budget woes did not end there. In May, the House passed a budget that was $7 billion in the red in spite of a state constitution requirement that the budget must be balanced. The Senate voted the unbalanced budget down. Parkhurst expressed her dismay at the passage of the last-minute unbalanced budget in the House.
"Madigan recently rammed through the largest spending plan in Illinois history," Parkhurst said. "His $7 billion out-of-balance budget would have forced a massive 47 percent tax hike, costing the average Illinois family an additional $1,000 per year. When Illinois families already have some of the highest taxes in the nation, an income tax hike of that magnitude is unconscionable."
After the House budget failed, the legislature passed a temporary stopgap budget in late June. It did not account for the existing bill backlog. Unless those bills are addressed after the general election in November, when the legislature reconvenes, the bill backlog is on track to reach an estimated $14 billion.
State Comptroller Leslie Munger warned that if structural changes and pension reforms are not implemented, taxpayers could see income taxes increasing from the current 3 percent to 8 percent in order to pay off the state's bills.
Property taxes are also increasing across the state. Education and pension costs are driving up property taxes as municipalities scramble to fund local school districts and pay for pensions. Unfunded mandates imposed on school districts and local government also drive up property taxes.
"Politicians have recklessly spent our hard-earned tax dollars for decades," Parkhurst said. "Property taxes are spiraling out of control and income taxes are on the verge of going up thanks to the carelessness of the politicians in Springfield."
Parkhurst has been vocal in her opposition to all tax increases. Her campaign focuses on a balanced state budget without increasing income or property taxes, term limits, education and increasing jobs. She believes that the state, like its residents, should live within its means.
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