Hard to find 'ray of positive light' since last year's huge income tax increase, Wilcox says
The state is no better off now, a year after the record-breaking income tax hike pushed through by the Democrat-controlled Illinois General Assembly and there appears to be no end in sight, a McHenry County board member running for state Senate said during a recent interview.
"It is difficult to find a ray of positive light to shine from what the General Assembly has produced in the year since they took more hard-earned money from an already overtaxed people," 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. "For too many residents it was the last straw. Increases that seem marginal to these politicians are devastating to many Illinoisans who don't enjoy the benefit of busting their budgets as the General Assembly does each year. The unfortunate result is that these conditions are forcing people to flee this state. Families are being separated because of the economic conditions created exclusively by the Illinois Democratic Party."
The promises of reforms to follow that income tax hike have not been realized, Wilcox said.
"Economic growth has stagnated and reversed since the implementation of the income tax increase one year ago," he said.
"Businesses do not have the confidence to remain in Illinois, let alone be attracted to invest here as opposed to elsewhere. It shouldn't be that way. The constant threat of raising taxes on personal income, businesses, and real estate are chilling growth and further investment because of the uncertainty that this toxic tax-and-spend environment offers. The General Assembly ought to focus on reducing their burden on their constituents, rather than working to make their lives more difficult. Only then will jobs begin to return to Illinois and will, in turn, improve the quality of services that are delivered."
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.
This month marks the first anniversary of last year's General Assembly override of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of an unprecedented and permanent $5 billion state income tax hike, an up to 33 percent increase in a state already known for high taxation. And yet the state's financial crisis continues and no one is benefiting except for powerful Democrats in the General Assembly, Wilcox said.
"The income tax hike that was passed by an override of Gov. Rauner's veto has failed to resolve any of the systemic spending issues that are ravishing this state," he said.
"To date, this income tax increase has only served to harm taxpayers to pay for the aggrandized overpromises that have been made by Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate Majority Leader John Cullerton. Illinois didn't see a reversal in its misfortune through this regressive tax either. Instead, such a maneuver has further damaged the economic and political strength of this state. With the state's economic growth sliding 34 percent since the implementation of this income tax hike one year ago, more hardworking Illinoisans took their talents and their tax dollars to neighboring states that treated them and the fruits of their labor more fairly."
Despite the disappointment of the past year, Wilcox vows to keep charging ahead.
"The income tax hike took on average of $732 more from the average Illinois taxpayer," he said. "This money, taken under the promise that the General Assembly would finally be able to balance its bloated budget, failed to do just that even with $5 billion in additional revenue. To call this tax hike, a 'mistake' would be too generous. It is no coincidence that the Illinois Democrats are now pushing a regressive and fundamentally unequal progressive income tax. Now that the Democrats demonstrated that they were unable to make ends meet with an equitable tax hike, they are advocating for treating taxpayers unequally to raise them even further on us. This tax-and-spend ritual has gone on for too long, and when I get to Springfield, I will fight to end that."