Led by House Speaker and Chicago machine boss Michael Madigan and Gov. Patrick Quinn, Illinois Democrats are about to commit political suicide by voting for a gargantuan 75% state income tax increase. Unless the Republicans learn from their own mistakes, Illinois taxpayers will likely find themselves subject to a state income tax increase that will further damage Illinois’ depressed economy.
The largest tax increases in the history of Illinois were the work of Springfield Republicans, not Democrats, and the repercussions were profound for both the GOP and Illinois taxpayers.
“Now is the chance for Republicans in the General Assembly to make up for the crippling tax increases pushed through by notorious Republican tax-raisers in previous years,” said Jim Tobin, President of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI).
The 1969 General Election left Republicans in control of the Illinois House (95 to 82) and the Illinois Senate by a lopsided lead of 38 to 20. In April 1969, Gov. Richard Ogilvie (R), in his proposed budget to the General Assembly, called for the creation of a state income tax, and the person he asked to sponsor and shepherd the proposal through the Senate was power broker W. Russell Arrington, the Republican legislative leader. The income tax passed the Illinois Senate 35 to 22. On June 30, 1969, the new income tax passed the Illinois House by a vote of 91 to 73, supported by 69 Republicans and 22 Democrats.
The political fallout was disastrous for the Republicans. Ogilvie confided, “I am now the most unpopular person in Illinois.” The Republican hold on Illinois politics, including their reign in the State Senate, would soon come to an end.
Illinois Republicans found raising state taxes a hard habit to break. June 30, 1989, was the day of the “Illinois Tax Massacre,” the day the Illinois General Assembly passed the largest state tax increases in the nation under the aegis of Republican Gov. James R. “Big Jim” Thompson. This assault on taxpayers’ wallets included a 20% increase in the state income tax, a 46% increase in the gasoline tax, a 50% increase in the cigarette tax, and a new 6.25% sales tax on software. To reward themselves for their efforts, the legislators voted themselves a raise.
“Illinois Republican politicians have not been kind to Illinois taxpayers,” said Tobin, “They have been bludgeoning Illinois taxpayers for 39 years (1969-2008). Now is their chance to prove themselves to the taxpayers of Illinois by voting ‘No’ on Quinn’s astronomical 75% income tax hike.”