"You have to cut first before raising taxes." Illinois Republicans, House Speaker Michael Madigan, and most recently Chicago Mayor Richard Daley
have all offered this argument at some point during
the past 12 months.
The idea seems to be that voters would ultimately be more accepting of an income tax increase if they first observed the state doing some "belt-tightening." But how would such a plan actually work? How long after enacting these sweeping cuts would the state be able to raise taxes? Six months? One year? Longer? And how come
last year's state budget -- which slashed spending by $2 billion without bumping up the tax rate -- doesn't count?
While we're on the
topic, Daley's advice yesterday for state lawmakers is a bit hard to
take. "You have to look at priorities," he told the Tribune, "and figure out if there's waste, inefficiency and
corruption, anything, because you have to look at that." Take it from a
guy who has done none of those things while in office.