One year after the state raised the income tax, Republican leaders in Springfield say it hasn’t worked. Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont, pictured) says the state’s unemployment rate is up, and business climate is worse since the tax went into effect, and the state’s financial situation is no better. “Every Republican voted against the tax increase. In fact, the Republicans warned that these very things would happen, that it would have a negative impact on the jobs climate in the state. That has all come to fruition,” she said.
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Illinois’ unemployment rate was equal to the national rate, 9.0 percent, in January 2011. Since then, the rates have fluctuated, but the national rate now stands at 8.6 percent, while Illinois unemployment is 10 percent. House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) says the tax increase, set to expire at the end of 2014, should be repealed now. He says the proceeds from the tax have relieved pressure on state lawmakers to make difficult decisions on Medicaid, and wages and pensions for state workers. But Kelly Kraft of the governor’s budget office says the costs of Medicaid and pensions require the money. “If we repeal the tax increase, unless they propose a plan to repeal reality, we just can’t take the plan seriously,” she said. The personal income tax went up from 3 percent to 5 percent.