OUR VIEW: Lawmakers, governors must keep working on solutions

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THE ISSUE: New state budget gives IVCC some stability

OUR VIEW: Predictability comes at a cost

On Thursday night, Illinois Valley Community College President Jerry Corcoran told the college’s trustees a recently ratified — through extreme measures — state budget delivers supplemental funding as the college closes out the fiscal year. And although appropriations for fiscal 2018 are down 10 percent, at least there’s stability and predictability, something all bodies that rely on state appropriations have struggled with for far too long as Illinois’ executive and legislative branches engaged in bitter standoffs.

That stability and predictability comes at a price. The individual income tax rate is now 4.95 percent, up from 3.75 percent. Corporations now pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent. The new rates are retroactive to July 1 of this year, which means the next paycheck you see will include less new pay. But don’t expect anything you need to buy to cost less.

Some camps oppose any tax increase whatsoever. Others feel the state needs even more revenue than it just allowed itself to properly operate a fully functional government. In trying to advocate both for our readers as individuals, as well as the public institutions that provide services that address immediate needs and also help position the state for long-term success, it’s been difficult to carve out positions sensitive to all parties.

This attempt at balance surfaced at the IVCC meeting, where trustee David Mallery suggested the district take the money that finished off fiscal 2017 and use it to lower tax rates as well as holding off on a tuition increase. Faculty union leader Steve Alvin responded by pointing out the $2.5 million the state released isn’t new money, just a deferred disbursal. And knowing already the future financial outlook isn’t bright, holding off on a tuition hike could hamper the school’s ability to hire enough faculty to actually offer its full course catalog.

These kind of decisions face officials throughout Illinois. These elected and hired officials are trying to operate their schools, departments, agencies and so on to the best of their ability, and by and large the same people pay income taxes in Illinois. They know exactly why it is they have a little more stability for the next few months. Predictability comes from their paychecks as well.

That’s why the pressure remains on Springfield. Illinois has a budget, but it lacks a long-term plan. It hasn’t even been a decade since the last time the income tax spiked, and that didn’t solve our problems. Now that some folks from each party think they’ve made a bold step forward, they must remember that will only be true if they keep walking, together, toward reforms that deliver lasting stability for both tax-funded bodies as well as the residents and business who provide those funds as a condition of being here.

What those reforms actually look like remains to be seen. But we’re all aware of the current situation, and maintaining the status quo is not an option. So governor, lawmakers, get back to work. We’re all depending on you.

01-All No Sub,02-Pol,03-HL 20,04-Pens 2,12-Coll,16-Econ,HE Blog,HE Coalition,22-Talk

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July 14, 2017 at 09:03PM

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OUR VIEW: Lawmakers, governors must keep working on solutions

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