Taxpayer Activists Call For Emergency Illinois Tax Cuts
The Wuhan Flu, otherwise known as the Coronavirus COVID-19, is devastating the Illinois economy. Chicago businesses report reduced activity. Convention centers and hotels are empty. Even casinos, unwilling to bet against the spread of the virus, are closing their doors. The Illinois Gaming Board has told all 10 Illinois casinos to halt their operations for two weeks starting on March 15.
The declining economic growth is not unique. The virus is negatively affecting the global economy hard. March 9th of this year is already immortalized in history as Black Monday. What is unique is how high the taxes in Illinois are compared to the rest of the United States.
In response, President Trump and the rest of the American government are taking action. The Federal Reserve is pumping $1.5 trillion into the economy to soften the economic blow from the virus. A multi-billion-dollar plan to give paid leave for employees, expand food aid, and support additional testing for the virus. Trump is also championing a $950 billion payroll tax holiday to companies.
These actions have prompted Taxpayer Activists at Taxpayers United of America (TUA) to call for Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to provide emergency tax cuts to help Illinoisans get through the crisis.
“According to basic economic theory, in times of crisis and recession, you cut taxes,” said Jim Tobin, economist and president of TUA. “COVID-19 is a crisis that will slow economic growth. The intelligent move for Pritzker is to ask the Illinois General Assembly to pass emergency tax cuts as soon as they are back in session and sign the bill immediately. Otherwise, we may see unnecessary hardship for Illinois middle-class taxpayers.”
“Businesses are already telling employees to stay home, or are closing entirely because of Covid-19,” continued Tobin. “I have also heard that bureaucrats are considering shutting down the Chicago transit system. If middle-class taxpayers are unable to work, they will have trouble paying their mortgage, let alone their property taxes.”
Taxes in Illinois are very high compared to other states. According to the Tax Foundation Illinois has the 5th highest state corporate income tax at 9.5%, and the 6th highest average sales tax at 9.08%. Additionally, according to Wallethub, Illinois is ranked as having the second-highest effective property tax rate in America.
Regardless of Mr. Tobin’s call for action, nothing can happen until March 18th. According to the Sun Times, the coronavirus prompted cancellation of state legislative sessions to promote ‘social distancing.’