SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Pat Quinn delivers a four-step comprehensive tax reform plan, highlighted by making the temporary state income tax hike, first instituted in 2011, permanent.
Quinn made the comments during his State of the Budget Address at the state capitol.
By maintaining a 5% income tax rate, Quinn says it allows the state to balance the budget and properly invest in education.
"It's time to move away from the era of annual budget emergencies and temporary solutions" says Quinn. "As long as I am Governor, we are not going to accept a future of higher and higher property taxes."
Part two of the plan involves property taxes. Quinn wants to provide homeowners with a $500 property tax refund every year. "The property tax is a complicated, unfair tax, hitting middle class families the hardest."
Quinn says home-buying is essential to the economic recovery. Illinois has one of the highest property taxes in the country. Rockford is no exception.
Part three provides tax cuts to businesses for job training. Quinn hopes the cut will make it easier for businesses to create new jobs, while also ensuring workers have the skills to execute their tasks.
Part four calls for doubling the value of the Earned Income Tax Credit over the next five years. Channeling President Ronald Reagan, Quinn quoted the former Commander-in-Chief by saying "the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job-creation measure we could ever devise."
Quinn also mentioned making "the biggest education investment in state history." He wants to invest $1.5 billion in Birth to Five, an initiative he first proposed during his State of the State speech. Also, Quinn says the state is already underway in modernizing classrooms across the state. He also wants to expand opportunities for students to attend college by expanding MAP college scholarships.
Quinn's opponent in the November Election, Chicago businessman Bruce Rauner (R) wasted no time in calling out the Governor for going back on his promise about the temporary state income tax.
"He broke that promise, taking away nearly a week's worth of pay for Illinois families" says Rauner. "After five years of Pat Quinn's failed leadership, we have record tax hikes, outrageously high unemployment, massive cuts in education, and there's still a giant budget mess in Springfield."
Many republicans agree with that assessment. Sen. Dave Syverson (R-35th) says he and many of his colleagues knew from the beginning the "temporary" tax increase would become permanent.
"Today, we were unfortunately proven right" says Syverson. The senator also implied Quinn is a hypocrite when it comes to education funding. "The Governor says he wants to increase education funding by the largest amount ever yet over the last four years, [but] he cut education funding by 8%" over the past four years.