Illinois state Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) | Rep Halbrook website
Illinois state Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) wants voters to know that the state’s bleak fiscal condition could have been avoided.
“The Democratic super majority-controlled General Assembly had an opportunity this past spring to turn the state around and avoid being the number-one most tax-unfriendly state in the nation," Halbrook told the Macon Reporter. “However, they chose a different path. The path will continue the unprecedented outmigration of taxpayers from our state. People are like water and electricity; they will take the path of least resistance. That path is creating an economic boom in Tennessee that was projected to end its fiscal year with a budget surplus of over $700 million, along with many other states.”
That’s a far cry from what’s happening in Illinois, which a new Kiplinger's report finds is the “least tax-friendly” state in the nation. Illinois policies obligate taxpayers to pay more than almost any other state, and property tax rates are the second highest in the country. Kiplinger's based its rankings on the tax burden of a “hypothetical middle-class family” in all 50 states and Washington D.C.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker
Halbrook laments that policies coming out of Springfield have essentially made the state its own worst enemy.
"Illinois is the greatest economic development tool that any nearby state could hope for,” he said.
Now Gov. J.B. Pritzker is pushing a progressive tax system that would mean a change to the state’s existing flat 4.95-percent rate and higher rates for those earning upward of $250,000. Adopting the new formula would require a change to the state constitution and the question will be on the ballot for voters in the form of a referendum during the 2020 elections.
Halbrook has long been an opponent of such legislation, insisting that there are better ways to return the state to firmer footing.
"I think we need to be looking at some serious cuts and some serious reforms,” Halbrook told WQAD. “To change the constitution for a graduated tax, these folks are going to want to just continue to raise rates as we go down the road without having some serious reforms and cuts.”