Illinois Senate Republicans are criticizing the directors of state agencies for trying to make the case for extending the income tax increase. “I refer to it the Parade of Horribles,”  says State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), who says agency witnesses are describing the state’s financial condition in the most dire terms.  “They are cherry-picking every worst-case scenario possible to paint a picture of a huge hole that will be created if the tax increase goes away.”
 
He’s for more optimistic revenue estimates, and for agencies keeping funding the same as this year.
 
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The tax increase is due to end this year, dropping the personal income tax rate from 5 percent to 3.75, but the governor wants to extend it. Revenue from the tax increase has largely gone to pension funds; the state’s operating budget has declined in recent years.
 
State Sen. Mike Connolly (R-Lisle) says that when agency witnesses are asked if they could persevere with the same budget next year as this, “they shrug their shoulders and generally say yeah, we probably could,” he said.
 
Allowing the tax to expire and not replacing it with any other source of revenue would cost the state $1.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2015 and $3.9 billion in Fiscal Year 2016, according to the Civic Federation.
 
The governor’s office says allowing the tax hikes to lapse would force budget cuts, including the layoff of 13,000 teachers, 21,000 senior citizens losing in-home care, 41,000 fewer children in child care and 30,000 fewer college students getting MAP scholarships.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio / www.AltonDailyNews.com)