Revenue Policy

Cutting Taxes for the Middle Class and Shrinking the Deficit: Moving to a Graduated State Income Tax in Illinois

Release: April 30, 2018

This report makes the case for a graduated rate state income tax in Illinois, and illustrates two possible rate structures that would accomplish each of three major objectives:

Cook County's Budget: Long-Term Imbalance Leads to New Pain for Vulnerable Residents

Release: November 14, 2017

On October 11, 2017, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to repeal a penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages. The FY2018 budget presented by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle had relied on the sweetened beverage tax to cover just over $200 million of the county's projected expenditures on services.

Illinois on Autopilot, the Reality of FY2016

Release: February 16, 2016

In both magnitude and meaning, state elected officials have no greater obligation than passing a General Fund budget into law. Consider magnitude first. Last fiscal year the General Fund budget provided for the expenditure of $35 billion. No question, that constitutes a sizeable expenditure of taxpayer money. It is also meaningful. While nearly $11 billion was targeted for Hard Costs like debt service and other legally mandated payments, over $24 billion was invested in current services across communities statewide. In fact, over 90 percent of FY2015 General Fund expenditures on services covered education (35 percent), healthcare (30 percent), human services (21 percent), and public safety (7 percent). To be clear, it is those services which provide for the basic health and well-being of the citizenry, and go to the very heart of why we elect a Governor and General Assembly in the first place.

By failing to pass a General Fund budget for FY2016, elected officials are basically punting the following difficult, but fundamental, responsibilities to: 

  • Make decisions about how to allocate scarce resources among the aforesaid four service priorities;
  • Identify which of, and by how much, those services will be cut, despite their high priority, if the state’s current woeful fiscal condition is not addressed; or
  • Raise the tax revenue needed to fund those core services to the amounts needed to satisfy demographically driven demand.

 

Capturing Resource Wealth to Invest in the Future: Possible Structures and Potential Benefits of an Illinois Coal Severance Tax

Release: October 23, 2015

This report compares the structures of severance taxes in other states and analyzes the potential benefits of instituting a coal severance tax in Illinois.

It Is All About Revenue: A Common Sense Solution for Illinois’ Fiscal Solvency

Release: September 9, 2015

This Report offers a solution to Illinois' longstanding fiscal shortcomings. There are a number of common sense, data-driven initiatives that will modernize the tax code—and still keep Illinois relatively low tax. The Report details how changes to Illinois' tax policy, primarily to its income and sales taxes, and re-amortizing its pension debt can completely eliminate its structural deficit.

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