2015 should be a difficult year for the Illinois economy. The state’s personal income tax dropped, effective New Year’s Day, from 5 percent to 3.75 percent. “The Flash Index is based on tax receipts,” the economic study’s author, Fred Giertz, reminds us. “January’s going to be kind of a transition month” in tracking the state’s economy. Giertz, an economics professor at the University of Illinois, compiles the index, which has shown growth in the state’s economy for 34 months in a row.
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“I don’t see what (the legislature and governor) can do now,” he says. “The budget was built on the assumption that the tax increase would continue, and it's not going to continue.”
Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner, who favors letting the income tax roll back to 3.75 percent as planned when it rose to 5 percent in 2011, takes office Monday. The new General Assembly is sworn in Wednesday.