Wilcox: Rauner and General Assembly need to make tough choices in state's financial crisis
Failure of a progressive-tax constitutional amendment is good news for Illinois taxpayers who must remain vigilant of any similar attempts by lawmakers in Springfield, a McHenry County board member running for state Senate said during a recent interview.
"For decades, Illinois has continued the slide down a fiscal cliff that has only been compounded by the response of our residents to flee in droves," Craig Wilcox, who represents District 4 on the McHenry County board and is running to represent Illinois state Senate District 32, said during a McHenry Times interview.
"I cannot in good conscience support a proposal that flies in the face of the principle of equality under the law. The people of Illinois already bear one of the most onerous tax burdens in the nation as it is, yet the 800-pound gorilla is the accumulated debt from decades of over-promising and over-spending. The fact that the Illinois Democrats want to change the state income tax from one that treats everyone equally to one that segregates people into different classes is remarkable, especially given their recent rhetoric on the importance of equality in our society."
Wilcox's comments came shortly after an Illinois Policy Institute report about the progressive-tax constitutional amendment that did not make it out of the General Assembly this year. The measure effectively died after a resolution filed in April by House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) gained enough support in the House to prove to supporters of the constitutional amendment that they could not gain a supermajority that would have been required to get a spot on the ballot in November's General Election, according to the Illinois Policy Institute report.
"The IPI report demonstrates that the average family in communities like those in your district will pay more in taxes," Wilcox said told the McHenry Times. "Should the middle-income families you talk to pay more?"
The answer to that question should be "no," Wilcox said.
"The constant rise in the tax burden placed on middle-income families in my district has pushed many people to a breaking point," he said.
"These perpetual tax-and-spend policies are only serving to hemorrhage more taxpayers as they flee to states that do a better job of respecting the fruits of their labor. My service in the Illinois Senate will be primarily focused on fighting for the rights and interests of all Illinois taxpayers. Illinois desperately needs some warriors down in Springfield who are willing to stand up and fight back against the highway robbery that is taking place in the General Assembly."
Wilcox, who is running against Democrat McHenry Township Assessor Mary Mahady, announced last summer his decision to run for the seat currently held by Illinois State Sen. Pamela J. Althoff (R-McHenry). Althoff, who first was elected to the chamber in 2002, is not running for re-election and her term expires in January.
Both Wilcox and Mahady were unopposed for the District 32 seat during the primaries in March.
Illinois state Senate District 32 is within Lake and McHenry counties, and includes Woodstock, McHenry, Crystal Lake and Fox Lake.
Rather than hike already-too-high taxes, Illinois lawmakers need to take a better look at what really will solve the state's financial problems, Wilcox said.
"Difficult problems are never solved easily; this is no exception," he said.
"The issues that we face are a result of decades of corruption and abuse that will take time, effort, sacrifice and dedication to resolve. We cannot begin to solve this issue though without first addressing our spending problems. Illinois has not had a balanced budget for 17 years. For decades, the General Assembly has produced budgets that rack up more debt as it kicks the can down the road. Undoubtedly, tough choices will need to be made, but it is necessary given the fiscal climate that Illinois is weathering."
The governor's office and the General Assembly have it in their hands to make those tough choices, Wilcox said.
"The Governor and General Assembly need to reduce the burden of unfunded mandates that come out of Springfield," he said. "The presence of these onerous mandates only serves to thwart more opportunities for creative ways to cut spending and increase government efficiency. By reducing unfunded liabilities and eliminating redundant regulatory costs, we can begin the process of turning Illinois into the economic powerhouse that it should be."