Illinoisans worked 113 days to pay all their taxes, but more may be coming

Illinoisans worked 113 days to pay all their taxes, but more may be coming

Tax Day comes with new threats for Illinois taxpayers, who worked longer than residents in 44 other states to pay their taxes this year.

Tax Day’s arrival is always a little unsettling in Illinois, even for those who don’t owe, and its arrival a month late this year brings new worries.

Tax Day 2021 comes 23 days after Illinoisans stopped working to pay the government and started working for themselves. Tax Freedom Day was April 24 in Illinois, ranking Illinoisans 45th among the states and Washington, D.C., for time they work to pay the taxman. The national average was April 16 this year.

Tax Day also comes two weeks before Illinoisans know what their state leaders are going to propose next regarding spending and taxes.

Here are some possibilities:

  • An additional $932 million in taxes from nine new proposals by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. He has portrayed these taxes as “closing corporate tax loopholes,” but most of them were passed to spur job creation and one helps disadvantaged children get scholarships that open up their education options. Some lawmakers are trying to protect the scholarships, nearly half of which go to minority students.
  • Half a billion to $1 billion in new taxes if lawmakers accept Pritzker’s plan to take away a tax advantage for up to 440,000 small businesses. The federal government gave the businesses a break to help them recover from the COVID-19 economic downturn, but Pritzker has been pushing to remove the state version for small businesses even though large corporations have already received the break. Springfield insiders have said it could be slipped into a shell bill, Senate Bill 217, impacting businesses that create 69 percent of all new jobsin Illinois.
  • Higher taxes on beer, wine and liquor. House Resolution 272 has 61 bipartisan co-sponsors opposing any new excise taxes after rumors surfaced that state lawmakers might try to raise revenue by upping alcohol taxes. The state was No. 6 in the nation for excise tax collections in 2016. Illinois lost over $1 billion in pay and saw a $3 billion drop in economic output statewide from COVID-19 impacts on the industry.

State lawmakers adjourn May 31, which is also when Illinoisans typically find out what is in the state budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. For the past 20 years Illinois has failed to pass a balanced budget despite repeatedly increasing taxes: income taxes were hiked in 2011 and 2017, 20 new taxes and fees totaling $4.6 billion pushed by Pritzker were passed in 2019.

COVID-19 has meant sacrifices for everyone, both personal and economic. State lawmakers need to respect those sacrifices. They can do so, and avoid creating more drag on Illinois’ economy, by killing any efforts to make taxpayers work even longer to satisfy the taxman’s demands.

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