Tax and Budget

Released May 20, 2015

This report identifies why expanding the base of the state sales tax to include consumer services—like pet grooming, haircuts, country club membership, health clubs, and lawn care—would simultaneously help to stabilize revenue generation for the state’s fiscal system, while reforming tax policy to comport with the modern economy. 

As detailed in the report, Illinois is one of 45 states that impose a general sales tax. And while the state-only sales tax rate of 5 percent is below the national average state-only sales tax rate of 5.5 percent, Illinois’ sales tax rate is applied, in large part to the sale of goods (like clothing and furniture) and not services (like pet grooming, health clubs, lawn care, and haircuts). Illinois’ sales tax applies to few services. In fact, of the 45 states with a general sales tax, the average number of service industries taxed is 51; Illinois is an outlier, taxing only five consumer service industries. And that is why the state’s sales tax policy fails to jibe with the modern economy. Indeed, over 72 percent of the Illinois’ economy is derived from the sale of services, while just 17 percent stems from the sales of goods.

Expanding the Base of Illinois’ Sales Tax to Consumer Services Will Both Modernize State Tax Policy and Help Stabilize Revenue, estimates that $2.105 billion in additional revenue could be generated if Illinois’ sales tax base was expanded to include primarily consumer service industries, while excluding business-to-business transactions and professional services. This could go a long way toward addressing the state’s fiscal difficulties. The report also notes that by broadening the state’s sales tax base, Illinois may also be able to reduce the state’s sales tax rate if policy makers so choose. 

Released May 14, 2015

This Issue Brief is an update to a 2007 Brief, and provides an overview of who pays property taxes in Illinois, the steps in the property tax cycle, and what property tax revenue is used for. 

Released May 6, 2015

PowerPoint presented by Ralph Martire at the Senate Revenue Hearing.

Released April 16, 2015

Recently, a number of states and cities across America have incorporated elements of school choice into their education systems in the hopes of improving student achievement. Starting in 2011 and expanded in 2013, Indiana joined this movement by enacting three bills—House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1001, HEA 1002 and HEA 1003—which, when taken together, create one of the more comprehensive school choice programs in the nation (collectively the “Indiana Choice Legislation”).  At its core, the Indiana Choice Legislation utilizes public tax dollars to subsidize school choice. These subsidies come in the form of vouchers, state income tax deductions and state income tax credits.

Indiana’s goal of enhancing student achievement is laudable.  It also directly coincides with growing national concern over the academic performance of America’s school children as measured under respected, international benchmarks like the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) “Programme for International Student Assessment” (PISA) exam.  Indeed, in the most recent PISA exams, the performance of America’s children (considered as a whole) came in at just 27th in math, 20th in science, and 17th in reading.

The question for policy makers in Indiana then, is can Indiana expect its school choice program to enhance student performance or help build a better public education system statewide?

This paper will not utilize in its analysis studies conducted by organizations with a clear bias, be it pro-voucher or anti-voucher. It instead draws on objective, peer-reviewed analyses. The goal is to answer two key questions about the Indiana Choice Legislation as objectively as possible.

First, does the actual documented track record of existing voucher programs demonstrate that those programs in fact achieved the desired goal of enhancing student achievement? Here, the short and clear answer is no.

Second, can voucher programs be expected to enhance student performance or improve public education systems, based on the education reforms implemented in the nations that currently rank in the top five in the world in reading, math, and science under PISA? Again, based on the evidence, the answer is no.

Released February 13, 2013

Independently Authored Materials by Equity and  Excellence Commission Members

Released February 17, 2015

Many know that on January 1, 2015, the temporary increases made to the state’s income tax rates that became law under the Taxpayer Accountability and Budget Stabilization Act of 2011 (TABSA) began to phase-down. On that date, the personal income tax rate declined from 5 percent to 3.75 percent, while the corporate rate went from 7 percent to 5.25 percent. What is not well known is: (i) who benefited most from the cut to the personal income tax rate under TABSA, and (ii) whether or not that tax cut can reasonably be expected to stimulate the Illinois economy. This Issue Brief reveals that the state's highest income earners will benefit disproportionately from the income tax rate phase-down, worsening income inequality and failing to stimulate the state's economy.

Released December 22, 2014

CTBA's issue brief, The Pending FY2016 Fiscal Cliff details the significant—potentially over $12 billion— fiscal shortfall facing the next General Assembly and Governor-elect Bruce Rauner as they work to craft a Gener

Released November 11, 2014

To address concerns about inequity in the Illinois' K-12 education funding formula, the Illinois Senate unanimously established the Education Funding Advisory Committee or “EFAC” in July of 2013. One specific goal supported by EFAC was making said distribution more equitable from a needs-based standpoint. In April of 2014, Senator Andy Manar (D-48) introduced SB16 in part to implement some of EFAC’s recommendations. CTBA's Fact Sheet outlines the primary goals, basic mechanics, and equity concerns of SB16.

Released August 31, 2014

This Issue Brief provides CTBA's analysis of gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's position paper on fiscal policy, "Bring Back Blueprint: Jobs and Growth Agenda” (the “Blueprint”). The Blueprint represents candidate Rauner’s most complete policy statement on how to resolve the very real and serious fiscal problems that have plagued Illinois state government for decades. After taking into account all of the Blueprint’s proposals, the Illinois budget would be $5.9 billion short in FY2016, and that is before factoring in the current projected deficit from FY2015, which would increase the total accumulated deficit to $12.4 billion in FY2016. The Blueprint presents no data, plan, or policy proposal as to how to balance the budget.

 

Released July 30, 2014

The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) participates in the federal program “Moving to Work,” which frees it from much of the oversight that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development usually exercises over public housing agencies. Through the MTW program, the CHA can pool federal funding for public housing, capital construction, and housing vouchers into one General Fund and spend money from that fund at its discretion. Normally, such federal funding has to be kept in segregated accounts by program. Because of the financial flexibility the MTW gives the CHA, the agency has been able to divert money intended for the issuance of housing vouchers to other uses.

CTBA’s report, A Fiscal Review of the Chicago Housing Authority, found that over the last five years in particular, the CHA’s reserve funds have grown significantly. During that same five-year period, the CHA had an average annual surplus of $107 million.

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