Rich Whitney is an attorney, actor, disk jockey, environmental and peace activist, and former Green Party candidate for Illinois governor — among other things.
Reminder: Illinois Still Has a Budget Crisis.
The good news? Real solutions are at hand, if we have the political will to adopt them.
It was understandable when many Illinoisans breathed a sigh of relief last summer, when our state finally adopted a state budget, after struggling for two-plus years without one. However, we are not even close to being out of the woods yet. Voters need to be fully aware of this: Illinois had a terrible budget crisis before the budget impasse began in 2015, and it still has one now.
There are real solutions to the Illinois budget crisis. But to mobilize behind those solutions, the voters of our state must first have a clear grasp of the real causes of the problem, and dispense with some commonly held myths. To begin with:
Illinois is not a “high tax” state. It is a dumb tax state, with one of the most backward tax systems in the nation.
As of fiscal year 2014, when our income tax rate was still 5 percent for the first half of the year, Illinois ranked 33rd in the U.S. in state revenue per capita, according to the conservative Tax Foundation. That’s lower than Missouri, Kentucky, Iowa and Wisconsin, and only slightly higher than Indiana.