Illinois: When in Doubt, Jack up Taxes

The Illinois state budget is on life support, with a $4 billion shortfall projected for this year and even more in 2010. So what’s a state to do?

In a move that has some scratching their heads, Governor Pat Quinn has proposed an increase on the tax rate for both personal and corporate income tax.

For a state ranked 48th in overall economic performance and 44th in economic outlook, such a tax hike seems questionable. Corporate and personal income is lagging. According to a recent study, non-farm payroll employment has only risen 3.6 percent and the growth of per capita income ranks 39th in the nation.

The state’s private sector is largely responsible for fueling a well-funded public sector. Such a tax increase could further suffocate growth, which in turn will impact the public sector as well.

Along with its persistent corruption, Illinois’ poor economic showing may become yet another embarrassment to an administration whose top leadership comes from the increasingly bedraggled Land of Lincoln.