CTBA in the News

March 20, 2015Illinois Times

UPDATE: On Thursday afternoon, Madigan announced a plan to tax personal income over $1 million at an extra 3 percent, bringing the effective rate for people earning more than $1 million to 8 percent.   Individuals with income under $1 million would continue to pay the current rate of 5 percent,

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March 18, 2015Huffington Post

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's housing agency has been pulling hundreds of millions of dollars from a fund earmarked for its affordable housing program and using the money instead to boost its pension, purchase government debt and build up a staggering cash reserve.

The agency's massive cash reserves were first noticed by the Chicago Housing Initiative, a coalition of tenants. The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a Chicago-based watchdog group, later produced a report on the stockpile, leading to a spate of news coverage over the summer. But the fate of much of the money the housing agency has stashed away has so far gone unreported. Through a series of open records requests, the Chicago Housing Initiative and the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability obtained internal documents revealing that under Emanuel, the CHA has become as much an investment fund as a housing agency.

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March 18, 2015State Journal-Register

"...Rauner is making this budget thing more difficult than it needs to be by opting to introduce a budget that ignores the revenue side of the ledger, instead relying entirely on questionable spending cuts to resolve the state's fiscal mess."

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February 12, 2015WTTW

As lawmakers and stakeholders await Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget proposal next week, the Institute for Illinois' Fiscal Sustainability at the Civic Federation has released a five-year roadmap that it says will stabilize state finances and protect government services.

.......While the group’s plan calls for a rate hike, it wants to see the income tax drop on Jan. 1, 2018 to 4 percent for individuals and 5.6 percent for corporations. Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, says while income tax rates do need to be adjusted, it’s not sound policy to temporarily increase the rates and call for a rollback in three years.

“You’re implementing artificial changes in policy that aren’t based on anything economically driven – rather, they’re politically driven,” Martire said. “The problem with our revenue system isn’t temporary, it’s structural.”

Martire says a more sound approach is to adjust the rates to account for the gap between the revenue Illinois takes in and what it spends on services, like education and health care.

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January 21, 2015Watchdog.org

In January 2013, Time Magazine featured the story “Why Illinois is Going Bankrupt.” It pronounced the state’s financial prognosis as terminal, with little hope of recovery. From its gaping annual billion-dollar deficit, to its bulging unpaid pension debt and revenue-draining Medicaid, Time

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January 21, 2015State Journal-Register

Bruce Rauner is Illinois' first Republican governor in more than a decade.

If that isn't enough to shake things up, Rauner also never had held elected office, so there's no track record to assess. This means his policy "to-do" list is somewhat of an unknown, except in one area: education.

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November 13, 2014Bloomberg

Illinois Governor-elect Bruce Rauner won a mandate to fix the finances of the lowest-rated U.S. state. Investors are signaling the Republican’s got his work cut out for him to avert a credit downgrade closer to junk.

“….A broader sales tax would generate about $600 million of revenue, and wouldn’t cover lost tax revenue, according to the Chicago-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, which calls itself a bipartisan, nonprofit research group.

“We can’t cut our way out of this problem,” said Amanda Kass, the center’s research director. “The revenue loss is so huge that we’d be looking at serious cuts to K-through-12 education, to higher education, public safety.” 

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November 11, 2014Progress Illinois

Hundreds of Chicagoans hit the city's downtown streets Tuesday afternoon to rally for economic justice and demand action from their elected officials on policies important to working families.

The demonstration, held one week after the midterm elections, focused on several key demands, including approval of a state minimum wage increase to $10.65 an hour during the upcoming veto session, adoption of a $15 hourly minimum wage in Chicago and an elected school board in the city.

Activists also called for the reopening of six public mental health clinics that closed in 2012 and immediate reforms to the Chicago Housing Authority. The call for CHA reforms follows a recent fiscal review by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, which showed the housing authority has built up large cash reserves in recent years primarily by socking away millions in federal funds intended for housing vouchers.

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Why is the state of Illinois is such bad economic shape, getting worse all the time?

Because, according to Ralph Martire, the Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (a non-partisan organization, that is, supported by and responsible to both political parties) we have an outdated and perverse tax system which can never provide the revenue needed for us to have a healthy economy.

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October 10, 2014Pioneer Press

Pioneer Press - Franklin Park and Northlake, “School funding bill makes local superintendents nervous,” Martire said first the state has to get its own financial affairs in order.

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