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Illinois GOP: Democrats Using Scare Tactics About Tax Increase

Drastic cuts, services ending, and layoffs. That's what most Illinois Democrats say will happen if the 67 percent income tax increase sunsets at the end of the year, as it's scheduled to do. Republicans, however, say not so fast.

Come January 1, the temporary income tax increase which passed several years ago will go from 5 percent to 3.75 percent.

"We'd see in our case a 27 percent cut from the general revenue fund," said Bob Flider, a Democrat and Director of the Department of Agriculture.

Republicans say these are nothing more than scare tactics. They point to state agencies and services staying afloat just a few years ago when the state income tax was at 3 percent. They also point to one area, where they say state could save billions.

"Medicaid. In five years, it went from $7 billion to $15.5 billion," said State Representative Rich Brauer (R-Petersburg). "They don't have fraud investigation in there, they don't have rectification, they don't even have Illinois residency requirements. Those are the things we should have looked at the half dozen years."

"You can't just say waste and fraud," said Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago). "You can't just say Medicaid. We've already done that."

While top Democrats point to drastic cuts to public services if the tax increase isn't made permanent, Republicans say working families will be forced to make cuts to their budget if it's made permanent. For example, a family making $50,000 a year will cost them $625 if a new law is passed making the tax increase permanent.

"If you really want to spur the economy, give everyone one weeks of their pay back," said State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Champaign).

For someone working full time on minimum wage in Illinois, keeping the tax increase permanent will cost them more than $200 in pay.