Tax and Budget

UPDATED: Illinois Property Taxes

Release: May 14, 2015

This Issue Brief is an update to a 2007 Brief, and provides an overview of who pays property taxes in Illinois, the steps in the property tax cycle, and what property tax revenue is used for. 

How Revenue and Spending Impact the Illinois General Fund

Release: May 6, 2015

PowerPoint presented by Ralph Martire at the Senate Revenue Hearing.

Analysis of Indiana School Choice Scholarship Program

Release: April 16, 2015

Recently, a number of states and cities across America have incorporated elements of school choice into their education systems in the hopes of improving student achievement. Starting in 2011 and expanded in 2013, Indiana joined this movement by enacting three bills—House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1001, HEA 1002 and HEA 1003—which, when taken together, create one of the more comprehensive school choice programs in the nation (collectively the “Indiana Choice Legislation”).  At its core, the Indiana Choice Legislation utilizes public tax dollars to subsidize school choice. These subsidies come in the form of vouchers, state income tax deductions and state income tax credits.

Indiana’s goal of enhancing student achievement is laudable.  It also directly coincides with growing national concern over the academic performance of America’s school children as measured under respected, international benchmarks like the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) “Programme for International Student Assessment” (PISA) exam.  Indeed, in the most recent PISA exams, the performance of America’s children (considered as a whole) came in at just 27th in math, 20th in science, and 17th in reading.

The question for policy makers in Indiana then, is can Indiana expect its school choice program to enhance student performance or help build a better public education system statewide?

This paper will not utilize in its analysis studies conducted by organizations with a clear bias, be it pro-voucher or anti-voucher. It instead draws on objective, peer-reviewed analyses. The goal is to answer two key questions about the Indiana Choice Legislation as objectively as possible.

First, does the actual documented track record of existing voucher programs demonstrate that those programs in fact achieved the desired goal of enhancing student achievement? Here, the short and clear answer is no.

Second, can voucher programs be expected to enhance student performance or improve public education systems, based on the education reforms implemented in the nations that currently rank in the top five in the world in reading, math, and science under PISA? Again, based on the evidence, the answer is no.

Issue Brief: Tax Relief from the Phase-down of the Personal Income Tax Disproportionately Goes to Illinois’ Wealthiest

Release: February 17, 2015

Many know that on January 1, 2015, the temporary increases made to the state’s income tax rates that became law under the Taxpayer Accountability and Budget Stabilization Act of 2011 (TABSA) began to phase-down. On that date, the personal income tax rate declined from 5 percent to 3.75 percent, while the corporate rate went from 7 percent to 5.25 percent. What is not well known is: (i) who benefited most from the cut to the personal income tax rate under TABSA, and (ii) whether or not that tax cut can reasonably be expected to stimulate the Illinois economy. This Issue Brief reveals that the state's highest income earners will benefit disproportionately from the income tax rate phase-down, worsening income inequality and failing to stimulate the state's economy.

Issue Brief: The Pending FY2016 Fiscal Cliff

Release: December 22, 2014

CTBA's issue brief, The Pending FY2016 Fiscal Cliff details the significant—potentially over $12 billion— fiscal shortfall facing the next General Assembly and Governor-elect Bruce Rauner as they work to craft a General Fund budget for Fiscal Year 2016.

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