Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
Local Editorials

Pols eye ‘revenue problem’

The politicians who lead state government clearly believe Illinois has a revenue problem, not a spending problem. After Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget address Wednesday and comments by House Speaker Michael Madigan afterward, higher taxes look like a done deal.

For Illinoisans who worry about how much more money state politicians want to take from them, Wednesday was an instructive day – not only for what Gov. Pat Quinn had to say in his budget address to the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield, but for what powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan had to say afterward on the public television show “Illinois Lawmakers.”

“If we wish to continue to provide the level of services we’ve become accustomed to – education and other services – then the tax increase should be extended,” Madigan said.

The governor can propose whatever tax increases and spending plans he wants, but it is the Legislature that decides the actual budget. And in a Legislature dominated by Democrats, Madigan wields extensive power (he doubles as chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party).

For Quinn’s plan to make permanent the 67 percent temporary income tax increase approved in the January 2011 lame-duck session, Madigan’s endorsement is significant.

And, as Madigan referred only to continuing current services, it’s clear that serious spending cuts are not on the agenda.

In other words, they think Illinois has a revenue problem, not a spending problem. (Minority Republicans, of course, believe the opposite.)

As for Quinn, he talked about Illinois being in a stronger position now than 5 years ago – despite an 8.7 percent unemployment rate, 13 reductions in the state’s credit rating, and interest payments on unpaid obligations at an all-time high at $318 million a year.

He touted reforms to the state’s pension and worker’s compensation systems, even though those measures have not solved either problem.

While Quinn closed his speech with his familiar refrain, “make the will of the people the law of the land,” we doubt it’s really the will of all the people to permanently hand over an extra week’s pay to the state each year.

The governor no doubt hopes his plan to send a $500 property tax rebate to every homeowner in Illinois, which he mentioned three times, will be remembered by voters who will pass judgment on him in November.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner decried Quinn’s lack of leadership at the helm of a government that is collecting more money than at any time in its history but is still suffering from credit downgrades, high unemployment, a bill backlog of more than $7 billion, and unfunded pension liabilities of about $100 billion.

Madigan and Quinn are accustomed to getting what they want, before an election and afterward. Our advice: Better watch your wallet.

Loading more