It is time to talk about the governor’s Gross Receipts Tax or GRT, which translates into Governor Raises Taxes, according to people I have talked to on the street.
First off, let me note that I cannot do any more about this tax than the average taxpayer. People come to me and ask me to do something to derail it. I remind them that I lost the election for governor, and also had to give up the treasurer’s office to run. Therefore, I do not hold any public office.
That seems to startle some folks, as if this were something shocking that I were telling them. I guess some people live on Mars and missed the last election cycle.
But, I can tell you what I think and what I am hearing. Just last week I talked to a state senator (not representing these many and chopped up villages) who said that he had often told other legislators that no one vote would ever sink their political careers.
However, with the GRT, things were different. Everyone seemed to know about it, and furthermore, the pressure on legislators was coming from all quarters and from people they dealt with closely every day, such as their hairdressers, plumbers, doctors, funeral directors, landscapers, restaurant owners, and so on.
As he told me, he and other legislators could not make a move without hearing about this proposed gubernatorial tax-the biggest ever in state history. This would be the tax bill that would end their political careers.
He is right, too, as this tax could cause the state’s economy, already horribly in debt and tottering, to fully implode. What would it mean for all of us? Companies, who bear the brunt of this tax for alleged “loopholes,” would leave the state for a better business climate in our surrounding states, thus taking jobs and other taxes that they pay with them.
Or, they could pass on the costs of doing business to the unwitting consumer. Or, they could have massive layoffs. Or, they could do all of the above.
Because a product or service would be taxed all along its path to finality, the tax would pyramid up, adding as it went, kind of like that proverbial snowball going downhill. And, there would be no quarter on whether or not a company made a profit or not so as to have to bear up under these proposed pyramiding taxes. Innumerable small business owners in the area have told me that they are waiting to see how this goes to see if they pull up stakes and just, plain leave the state. As they put it, they have had enough.
And, while this waiting game goes on, and the GRT hovers over the legislature, one can expect that other, potential budgets are being drummed up in case the governor will not relent. Because this is not only the biggest tax proposal in history, the spending end of it is also the biggest whopper of an expenditure the state has ever seen.
One has to wonder if the governor has any concept of how much the middle class has been beaten down through higher taxes and costs. Has he looked at his electric and gas bills recently, the amount of property taxes he has paid on schools, the cost of groceries and the like?
Although it is noble that he wishes to provide health care for all and more educational funding, it gets down to just how much the traffic will bear, just how far business, industry and the public, at large, can handle when it comes to taxation.
I believe that there was once a time that something similar was going on and tea bags in Boston Harbor resulted. Maybe it is time to start sending tea bags to the governor. Except don’t send them to the executive mansion in Springfield, because he does not live there, although we pay around a million dollars a year for the upkeep of the empty house.
If the GRT is not modified or canned outright by the legislature, and people start seeing $3 to $5 added to their pizza cost, maybe then the public will realize that the little-publicized activities in Springfield can have more of an impact upon their lives than anything that Congress can muster up.
The GRT is ill-advised as many manufacturers, trucking firms and retail stores have been driven out of the state. We cannot kill the golden goose which provides the jobs that underpin the lives of Illinois residents. One can expect to hear more about this as even the Illinois Press Association, which represents small, community newspapers, has been aroused, as have been most of the associations in the state.
And teachers, you had better guard your pensions, as the governor is, once again, looking to raid the state’s five pension funds, thus pushing their funding off to future generations.
Folks, this is all bad, and it is time to call or write your legislator to let him or her know that you will not have a short memory on all of this if the GRT, overblown spending and pension raids are in our future. The legislature adjourns May 31, so it is time to mobilized now.