GOP Lawmakers Decry Plans For Lame Duck Tax Vote


Efforts to make the temporary Illinois income tax hike passed nearly four years ago a permanent one are drawing the ire of Republican state lawmakers.

Three state senators --Jason Barickman of Bloomington, Darin LaHood of Dunlap (a suburb of Peoria) and Chapin Rose of Mahomet--held a news conference condemning Governor Pat Quinn and Democrats in Springfield for planning to repeat the lame duck passage of the hike during an upcoming lame duck session.

Rose says the political maneuvering during the January 2011 session was wrong.

"In the cover of darkness you had people who were lame duck legislators who campaigned their entire careers on anti-tax, suddenly became pro-tax, and some of them later got jobs in the Quinn administration”, said Rose.

LaHood says such sessions are no place for major legislation to be considered.

"People are sick and tired of this kind of activity going on in the state of Illinois”, said LaHood , son of former U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “It leads to cynicism. It leads to the bad reputation that our state has, and here we now have the Governor saying, 'we're going to make this permanent during a lame duck session.'"

In January 2011, Democrats raised the income tax rate from 3 to 5 percent. It passed during a lame duck session, without a single Republican vote. Democrats said at the time the revenue would help pay the state's bills and improve the overall economy.

LaHood, Rose and Barickman point out two lame duck Democrats went on to jobs in the Quinn administration. They include former State Representative Bob Flider of the Decatur area. He’s now the state agriculture director.

The three GOP senators co-sponsored resolutions that would have prevented tax votes during lame duck sessions, and Rose authored a failed constitutional amendment that would have prevented lame duck sessions except during an emergency.

The temporary tax hike from 3 to 5 percent is due to expire in January. The tax hike has been an issue during the Governor's race. If lawmakers fail to extend it, economists estimate that state government’s revenue loss will creep close to $4 billion. The Republicans say spending cuts could overcome the drop in revenue.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio