Because of serious economic problems facing the state, Illinois was expecting to see the following:

“250,000 people to lose their jobs”

“send … (Illinois) unemployment rate up to 15 percent”

“massive cuts to education”

“increases in property taxes”

“layoffs of thousands of teachers”

“a complete unraveling of the (state’s) social safety net”

“vulnerable citizens loosing access to health care (and) mental health services”

“(the loss of) domestic violence shelters”

These problems were outlined by Illinois state Sen. Don Harmon in his recent One View, “Tax increase was painful but quite necessary,” [Viewpoints, Jan. 19].

Instead, with the Legislature’s courageous and very responsible adoption of Gov. Quinn’s proposed tax increases, Illinois will avoid that unfortunate outcome and “return to fiscal stability,” “invest in jobs and education and infrastructure,” “attract jobs to Illinois,” and “end this painful chapter in our state’s history.”

As a recent New Your Times editorial puts it, “By taking this step (the proposed tax increases) … the Illinois Legislature has begun to show residents and corporate leaders that it is serious about fixing the budget.”

Yes, the Illinois General Assembly is serious about fixing the budget. But as Sen. Harmon explains, the governor’s proposal is more than the increase in taxes. It is part of his larger effort to stabilize Illinois government. According to Sen. Harmon, Illinois would:

“First … cut government spending”

“Second … adopt performance-based budgeting”

“Third …balance the budget for this … and two fiscal years thereafter”

“Fourth … pay our bills on time”

“Fifth … (prevent) the future growth of government”

“Finally … a temporary increase in the individual income tax rate”

The governor’s proposal seriously addresses the fact that, according to the Times, “states are in their worst year in generations and they cannot get out of it by either cutting or taxing alone. Illinois is figuring that out. Too many states are still in denial.”

Indeed! Illinois is not in denial. Not with the leadership of Gov. Quinn and the enlightened support of Sen. Don Harmon.

Jim Dickert
Oak Park

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