Taxpayers group weighs in on primaries

CHICAGO—National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTU), the largest taxpayer group in the state, released its 10th non-partisan Tax Survey of the Illinois General Assembly, revealing the tax and spending records of every member of the 92nd General Assembly from January 2001 to January 2003.

While the 92nd General Assembly was in session, from Fiscal Year 2001 to FY 2002, the state budget increased 8 percent, or nearly $4 billion from $48.7 billion to $52.6 billion. Total state spending in FY 2003 leapt $4 billion, or 6 percent, from total spending in FY 2002. To feed the massive spending increases, legislators in Springfield approved $610 million worth of state tax hikes.

Forty-three House politicians and 34 politicians in the Senate voted for all three state tax increases, a statewide increase in local phone taxes and both statewide property tax-hike bills. One of the property tax-hike bills, SB1171, would have raised property taxes statewide up to $1.2 billion without referenda. SB1171 was defeated by NTU in the state Senate.

Rep. Jonathan Wright (R-90, Lincoln), a candidate for U.S. Senate in the March 16 Republican Primary, was among the Taxpayers’ Friends in the House. Meanwhile, state Senators Barack Obama (D-13, Chicago), and Steve Rauschenberger (R-33, Elgin), who are running in the Democratic and Republican primaries for U.S. Senate, respectively, earned spots on the Taxpayers’ Enemies list. Rauschenberger voted for two of the three state tax hikes, increasing the burden on taxpayers by $480 million annually. He was also the sole Sen. sponsor of SB88, the Local Telecom Tax Shell Game bill, that costs Illinois taxpayers an extra $240 million per year in local utility taxes.

The scoring methodology of this survey has remained unchanged since NTU published its first non-partisan Tax Survey of the 83rd General Assembly in 1983. All significant tax-increase, tax-cut and spending bills are included in the Survey.

Legislators voting for each of the tax-increase and spending bills receive a score of zero percent, while legislators voting against all tax hikes and new spending earn a score of 100 percent.

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