McConchie: Taxpayer Bargain meets resistance in Senate as legislators seek 'easy way out'
A plan by two state senators to balance the budget without raising taxes hasn't progressed in the General Assembly, despite evidence that Illinois residents are fed up with high taxes.
Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods), who co-sponsored the "Taxpayer Bargain," told the McHenry Times this reform looks much different from the Grand Bargain, which includes billions of dollars in tax increases and fees.
“There is no unnecessary spending,” McConchie said. “We cut spending in all areas except education, Medicaid, pensions, and debt services.”
McConchie blames the tax hike trend on senators looking for the “easy way out.” Some legislators try to appeal to special interest groups to attract large campaign contributions by voting in their favor, he said.
“Groups of people benefit from government spending," he said. "The special interests groups that get money from the state government donate to their campaigns."
This type of dealing has produced a divide, he said, adding that it could be a reason his Taxpayer Bargain has received little attention in Springfield, compared to the Grand Bargain supported by Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Villa Park).
In early May, co-sponsor Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) said on his website that 14 of the 18 total bills had been assigned to committees for further discussion. He was grateful for the meetings, but said in order to be passed in the Senate and House, these bills will need bipartisan support.
A Illinois Policy Institute tax pro said McConchie's on the right track.
“Spending reforms through a no-tax-hike budget is what Illinoisans need and want,” Craig Lesner, Illinois Policy Institute budget and tax research director, and Ted Dabrowski, vice president of policy, wrote about the bill in April. “Recent polls find most Illinoisans oppose tax hikes, preferring spending reforms instead.”
The policy institute reported that 80 percent of surveyed Illinois residents support spending cuts, with more than 50 percent preferring cuts as the only way to fix the deficit. Well more than half of those surveyed said property taxes and state income taxes are too high.
A Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll showed Illinois residents consider fleeing the state to get away from high taxes. In the report, 27 percent of residents said they are willing to move out of state because of taxes. And 58 percent of millennials said they want to move out of state for the same reason.
McConchie wants to see a balanced budget that includes the state spending within its current revenue. He urges residents to speak with legislators about their tax preferences and opinions on how to resolve the budget issues facing Illinois.