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Our View: Urging Franks to cast 'no' vote

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 4:43 p.m. CDT

State Rep. Jack Franks has been a champion of taxpayers ever since he first was elected in 1998 to represent Illinois’ 63rd House District.

He understands that Illinois residents are overtaxed, and that a bloated state government has been grossly mismanaged over the years.

Throughout his eight terms, he has filed multiple bills that try to help taxpayers in multiple ways: by freezing property taxes in years when property values decline, by consolidating redundant taxing districts and more.

He’s also opposed tax increases, including the 2011 67 percent “temporary” income tax increase that Gov. Pat Quinn now wants to make permanent, and attempts to change Illinois’ flat tax to a progressive one.

In short, Franks fights for what’s best for taxpayers.

Given that consistent history, we urge Franks to vote against putting Speaker Michael Madigan’s millionaire tax on the November ballot. It’s a job-killing measure that is as much about dirty politics as it is about bad fiscal policy.

Days after self-made millionaire Bruce Rauner won the Republican nomination for governor, Madigan proposed a constitutional amendment to allow for a 3 percent surcharge on annual income over $1 million.

We used this space Sunday to detail the many reasons Madigan’s millionaire tax proposal is a bad idea.

• It’s a job killer. More than 80 percent of the 13,675 individual Illinois returns filed with income over $1 million in tax year 2011 are small businesses. To compensate for this new surcharge, these businesses would be forced to trim payroll or move to a more business friendly state. Illinois’ unemployment rate already is second highest in the nation at 8.7 percent. Do we really want to push that higher?

• We don’t trust state government with any more money. Quinn already wants to make permanent the “temporary” income tax increase passed in 2011 that robbed hardworking Illinois residents of about a week’s pay each year. That money’s been flushed down the toilet. Why give them more?

• The timing of Madigan’s proposal clearly was meant to be a political attack against Rauner, whom Quinn and Madigan fear will be Illinois’ next governor. By creating class warfare, Quinn and Madigan hope to distract from their failed leadership.

This brings us back to Franks. As a Democrat, he’s facing fierce pressure from House leadership – i.e., Madigan – to vote to put the tax on the November ballot. He’s told the Northwest Herald that he’s leaning toward putting it on the ballot.

Because the referendum seeks to change the Illinois Constitution, a three-fifths majority of 71 votes is needed in the Illinois House to move it forward. Democrats have exactly 71 seats in the House.

All indications are that this will be a party-line vote, with Democrats voting for and Republicans against. That means Franks’ vote is key. If he votes against it, the bill does not pass.

All other McHenry County representatives and senators are Republicans and have indicated they would vote against Madigan’s bill.

We urge Franks to stick with his past record on taxes and do the same – vote against putting this jobs-killing tax hike referendum on the ballot.

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