In Illinois, we have a ‘spending’ problem, not a ‘deficit’ problem

Don’t be fooled, history is repeating itself

Why lawmakers are calling Illinois’ fiscal mess a “deficit” problem rather than by its true name

By: Senator Jason Plummer

As legislators are being asked to consider an entirely new income tax structure with graduated rates projected to bring in billions in new state revenue to fill what is being called a “deficit,”—we need to be asking ourselves a more fundamental question—does Illinois have a “deficit” problem or a “spending” problem?

If the state’s financial problems are due to a “deficit,” well then, that is news to me. The broken record of increasing our taxes has been played out enough. Raise taxes, spend the funds irresponsibly, realize the true problem has not been addressed, orchestrate a plan to bamboozle the taxpayers—then tax some more!

Lawmakers use the word, “deficit” to make it seem as though we are lacking in revenue, when the truth is year over year, we are spending more than we bring in, despite seeing record tax receipts. Illinois is already one of the least tax-friendly states in the United States. You and I are already paying more than our fair share of taxes and far more than what we would be paying if we lived in any of our neighboring states. But under the Prtizker plan, you can expect the outlook to worsen.

Insanity is extreme foolishness or irrationality, and those behaviors are rampant more than ever at the Illinois Statehouse. Your lawmakers have been pulling the wool over your eyes for years. Certainly by now you have to realize that we cannot be short on revenue, but rather, short on discipline. You and I do not have the luxury of spending beyond our means without consequence for our households or businesses, so why the hall pass for our government?

As your elected leaders, we lawmakers have a moral obligation to do what is best for the hardworking families in our districts—and I am certain that asking taxpayers to pony up even more of their earnings is not what is truly right and just.

The next time you hear a news report about the state’s “deficit” sob story, ask yourself this question—do we have a “deficit” problem in Illinois, or a “spending” problem? Do not let politicians continue to play word games in order to avoid the real issues we face in Illinois. Enough is enough.

– Jason Plummer

This op-ed was published in the Belleville News-Democrat on March 29, 2019. Read the online version here.
Jason Plummer

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