With Blagojevich's Downfall, Will Tax and Budget Issues Be Resolved More Effectively in Illinois?


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Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois governor who for years watched his states' finances spiral out of control because he refused to raise income or sales taxes, was arrested by FBI agents this week and is being charged with fraud and soliciting bribes.

Blagojevich opposed various measures that would have helped the state pay for public services, but he supported a regressive and complicated tax (a gross receipts tax) that would have effects similar to that of a sales tax.

Resignation, impeachment, conviction (maybe even two out of three) are all possible outcomes for the chief executive with the lexicon of a longshoreman.

Obviously, Illinois public policy is in enormous flux now, too. On one hand, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn does not appear to be a big fan of sound tax policy. He championed a measure that would have allowed taxpayers to use the ballot to block local tax changes. (To assess the idea of deciding tax issues through direct democracy, one only needs to look at California's budget crisis.) On the other hand, legislative leaders like Speaker of the House Mike Madigan have left the door open to using the income tax to address the state's budget deficit.

To stay abreast of all the latest budget developments in Illinois, visit the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability's website.

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