Will Illinois Republican Politicians Lead or Raise Taxes?

Pat Hughes from “Upstream Ideas” recorded a scathing short video slamming state Senate Republican Minority Leader Christine Radogno for her participation in the crafting of a budget “compromise” which includes a tax increase on Illinois families. That video can be seen here: ‘Republican’ Minority Leader Radogno Looking Out For Herself Not You.

It should be noted that Sen. Radogno has been the senate GOP leader since 2009, and was recently reelected to that position by her fellow Republicans. Also worth noting is that she has been in office for twenty years, and few considered her a solid fiscal conservative in support of limited government. Any criticism of Sen. Radogno should not leave out the fact that she has enjoyed the majority support of her caucus since 2009, so her fellow Republican senators share in the blame of any tax increase that might get passed.

What’s the problem with yet another tax increase? The Illinois Policy Institute outlines it well in this article by Michael Lucci, “4 Reasons Illinois Can’t Weather Another Tax Increase”:

  1. Illinois’ battered economy is extraordinarily weak compared to other states.
  2. Taxes are already going up all over the state.
  3. Out-migration has hit record levels — and more taxes will push more people out of the state.
  4. The 2011 tax hike did not fix Illinois’ financial problems, and was followed by economic weakness and significant and ongoing wealth-flight.

The Illinois Policy Institute recently put forward a budget proposal of their own — “Budget Solutions 2018: Balancing the state budget without tax hikes.” Republican state Representative Jeanne Ives joined IPI’s chief John Tillman in a press conference outlining their proposal — that video can be seen here.

In another video from “Upstream Ideas,” host Dan Proft discussed the Illinois Policy Institute’s budget solution with Rep. Ives, as well as IPI’s Michael Lucci and former state Senator Steve Rauschenberger, who currently serves as the president of the Technology & Manufacturing Association. Rep. Ives explained the hard truth — that difficult decisions need to be made and state spending needs to be restructured. She called the “compromise” package being negotiated by her fellow Republican Sen. Radogno “preposterous.”

Michael Lucci said the IPI plan was developed putting taxpayers at the center, and added that it addresses the necessary structural changes that are the only path towards a balanced budget and saving Illinois from becoming, as the IPI budget solution warns, “a failed state.”

Steve Rauschenberger explained that once again elected officials here are planning on getting “taxpayers to bailout their mismanagement.” Illinois Republicans, Rauschenberger said, unfortunately have “not offered an alternative that inspires” support. They have “no vision.”

Rauschenberger doesn’t lay the blame only at the feet of GOP legislators, as Governor Rauner “suffers from being new to politics,” he said. “They haven’t talked enough about the structural reforms,” and “I don’t think he understands and I don’t think he’s getting good advice that repetition [in messaging] is critical.” Governor Rauner “ought to be talking about what’s happening in K-12 education — the out of control spending that’s going on.”

“I think in some ways the last the last two years have been a lost two years to the Rauner administration because I don’t think he’s gotten the messaging right… He understands from a public policy point of view but the very fact that you’ve got [Chris] Kennedy emerging [he announced his campaign for governor] . . . shows clearly that they haven’t gotten the message out… He’s got good intentions, I think he’s been under-served by his advisers and I think they need a message that resonates with middle-class people — the same kind of people who are furious enough to elect Trump president.”

If Illinois Republicans are going to successfully win public support for the much needed state government spending reforms, they should heed Steve Rauschenberger’s advice.

See Steve Rauschenberger’s comments starting at the 8:30 mark here.

Image credit: John Tillman & Jeanne Ives / www.jeanneives.org.