All Press Items

CTBA experts are available to provide insight, analysis, and data to the press on a wide range of public policy issues. In addition, CTBA disseminates new research and timely updates on policy developments to the media.

What We Do

  • Policy analysis and advocacy
  • Empirical research
  • Advice and technical assistance
  • Strategic leadership in coalitions
  • Legislative testimony
  • Public education
November 19, 2015State Journal-Register

CTBA's Executive Director Ralph Martire explains how sometimes the way to spend fewer tax dollars is by raising taxes. Using the Illinois Finance Authority to issue bonds to cover current operating costs will end costing taxpayers more than simply raising the appropriate amount of revenue

Read Original Article

November 17, 2015State Tax Notes

Illinois provides perhaps the best example of a sales tax system that has not changed with the economy and thus is failing in some key respects. According to a Federation of Tax Administrators survey conducted in 2007 and cited by virtually every analyst of service taxes, Illinois taxes fewer services than almost every other state.

Most recently, in May the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois issued an unprecedented joint ‘‘Issue Brief ’’ in which they called for taxing additional services. The brief argued that expanding the sales tax base would ‘‘improve the long-term stability of the state’s fiscal system’’ because it would allow the sales tax ‘‘to comport with both the modern economy and the principles of sound tax policy.’’

The case for modernizing the sales tax in Illinois is compelling.


November 12, 2015Debtwire

The clock is ticking for the City of Chicago’s police and fire pension reform, which is at risk of remaining on Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk past the city’s deadline for passing a property tax
high enough to properly fund the systems. 

The Illinois legislature still needs to send SB777—Chicago’s police and fire pension reform estimated to save the city USD 220m next year—to the Governor for his signature, who would
have 60 days to veto legislation. Illinois lawmakers passed the bill in June but did not send it to Rauner, as reported. The political play complicates matters for the Windy City, which already passed a budget pegged to a favorable outcome of this bill, and is simultaneously facing legal backlash on its municipal and laborer pension reform. 

“Since we are now into November, it’s possible for Governor Rauner to sit on the bill until after the New Year,” said Bobby Otter, a budget director at the Center for Tax and Budget
Accountability. “If that were to happen, Chicago will miss the deadline for setting the appropriate property tax levy for next year.”

The bill saves the city USD 850m over the next five years, and extends the period of time that the city has to fully fund its retirement plans, as reported. The city has also pegged its USD
543m property tax increase to these tenuous savings. 

November 4, 2015Chicago Defender

During the darkest hours of Mayor Emanuel’s runoff campaign, he worked hard to downplay the looming property tax hike that many insiders knew was inevitable. Last Wednesday, that inevitability became reality when the Chicago City Council passed Mayor Emanuel’s $588 million tax increase. In

Read Original Article

November 2, 2015Reno Gazette Journal

The one thing the public schools do not provide is instruction in religion of any kind. That is definitely unconstitutional in Nevada and all states.

The propaganda boasts that vouchers are working in other areas but if you researched this topic, you would find that the voucher programs have failed in the 21 states who have used this program, including the states of Ohio, Wisconsin, and Indiana. According to the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in an analysis of Indiana School Choice Scholarship Program in April, the students enrolled in private schools using the voucher programs in these states do not perform better than students enrolled in public schools. In general, students in public schools outperform those enrolled in private schools.

This study also found that low-income families did not benefit from these voucher programs. The only beneficiaries were high-income families who used the voucher money to subsidize their children’s private school education.

Read Original Article

October 27, 2015Reuters

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed fiscal 2016 budget and historic property tax increase dedicated to paying pensions for police and firefighters is expected to win approval on Wednesday from the city council even though the spending plan faces uncertainties.

Read Original Article

October 24, 2015The Southern Illinoisan

Environmentalists are again touting a severance tax on Illinois's coal production. Coal industry lobbyists said the tax would be another attack on an already-embattled economic driver.

Proponents of the "Community Futures Initiative" were in Southern Illinois this week, rallying support for a 5 percent severance tax on all coal produced within Illinois. Only three of the 25 coal-producing states, including Illinois, don't have a targeted tax on coal production.

Severance tax supporters cite an analysis published this week by the Chicago-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, which concluded coal actually costs the state $20 million a year in tax breaks and other public services. 

Read Original Article

October 15, 2015State Journal-Register

In essence, the theory of supply-side economics is based on three main premises. First, cutting income taxes, particularly for high-wealth individuals, frees up their income to "trickle down" and benefit virtually everyone, because the wealthy will use their tax relief to create faster job growth. This enhanced job growth will trigger rapid economic expansion and, hence, create growing wages for most.

Indeed, according to the theory, the growth in jobs and personal income for the majority of workers will be so great that even though the taxes of top earners are being cut, overall tax revenue will be undiminished.

What's scary is that this theory has been law since 1981 and continues to enjoy broad support, despite no evidence that it works. 

Read Original Article

October 1, 2015Public News Service

Federal Stopgap Exacerbates Illinois' Money Problems

Listen to the Interview


Read Original Article

September 25, 2015Daily Herald

Last year, Illinois implemented a new standardized test to assess student achievement. Known as "PARCC" -- which stands for "Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers" -- the test is supposed to measure how well students have mastered the relatively new "Common Core" curriculum. 

The initial PARCC results are in, and absolutely no one is happy with the numbers. Under PARCC, only 38 percent of Illinois' eighth grade students met or exceeded standards in English, with just 31 percent doing so in math. In high school, 31 percent met or exceeded English standards, while just 17 percent satisfied math standards -- with no students exceeding.

Now, before the uninformed blame-game begins in earnest, let's balance the PARCC results with a little perspective.

Read Original Article