In January 1995, Illinois’ Bureau of the Budget is expected to announce that revenues for the current fiscal year will fall approximeately 3 percent short of spending, producing a “budget gap”of between $1 and $1.5 billion. Shortly after this announcement, the Chicago Public Schools will probably release a “preliminary estimate” of its own impending budget deficit and ask the state for a $300 to $500 million bail-out. Adding to the sense of urgency will be a scramble to find several hundred million dollars to fund a “truth in sentencing” poilcy, which has been endorsed by one leading candidate for governor and probably will be endorsed soon by the other.
The commom wisdom will be that a permanent income tax increase is necessary to close the budget gap, adequately fund the schools and make our streets safe again. The state’s most powerful special interest groups- the teachers unions, public employee unions, and welfare lobby-will taxes. The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times will editorialize repeatedly for higher income taxes. Opinion polls will show that approximately half of Illinois voters would support higher taxes, provided the money was used to improve schools or fight crime.
Please note Heartland Institute’s phone number and adress have changed since this document was created. The correct contact information is The Heartland Institute, 19 South LaSalle Street #903, Chicago, IL 60603; phone 312/377-4000; fax312/377-5000; email [email protected].