Taxpayers demand interest on late tax refunds

Taxpayers demand interest on late tax refunds


CHICAGO—The head of Illinois’ largest taxpayer group recently demanded that the state of Illinois pay interest on late tax refunds retroactive to April 15, 2002, and said that taxpayers should hold state legislators accountable for squandering their money on pork barrel projects.

“Just let a taxpayer be as much as one day late on a state or federal tax payment,” said Jim Tobin, president of Tax Accountability 2002 (TAC) and 2001 Libertarian candidate for Illinois Lt. Governor, “and the taxpayer is liable for late penalties and interest. Yet the state of Illinois is now running months late on tax refunds and, according to published reports, only now is processing income tax returns that arrived by late March. Some taxpayers won’t receive tax refunds until September. That’s outrageous!

“The state wrote checks totaling $6.7 million on June 17 to fund state legislators’ pork barrel projects. These same reckless legislators created a monster $54 billion 2003 budget that is $2 billion higher than the 2002 budget, while they knew state revenues were dropping. That’s the height of irresponsibility. It’s negligence bordering on criminal.

“While taxpayers are still waiting for refunds delayed by the state’s phony financial ‘crisis,’ the state is giving away millions of taxpayer dollars. Examples include $400,000 to Waukegan to spend on its downtown area, thousands to the Park Ridge Fine Arts Society for free concerts, and $12,000 to Elgin for a Girl Scouts sports complex.

“State politicians apparently think that it is more important to send $20,000 to Elgin for a new baseball diamond and $30,000 to the Northwest Suburban Daycare Center in Des Plaines, than to pay interest on late tax refunds.

“Taxpayers need to send a message to the shady state legislators who squander taxpayer dollars,” concluded Tobin. “Each person who is waiting for a state tax refund and every adult family member should vote against the incumbent representing his or her state house and senate district. Power is the only language politicians understand. If enough of them are thrown from office in the next statewide election on Nov. 5, those taking their place no doubt will be more attentive to the needs of taxpayers who elected them.”

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