Governor Pat Quinn is not having a good day.
First, yet another poll was released that shows Republican Bill Brady leading Quinn 44-37. Then, the governor's budget director got a little too chatty--and announced an even bigger tax increase than the one Quinn proposed this earlier this year, saying it will go into effect in January.
Lawmakers will likely increase the personal tax to 5 percent from 3 percent, generating $6 billion of new revenue, the budget director, David Vaught, said in an interview. The legislature failed to address the deficit this year because of the pending November election, he said.
"We're going to pass a tax increase in January," Vaught said. "We expect it is going to be substantial."
In March, Quinn said the state needed a personal income tax hike to help with the deficit and pay its bills--but the numbers were a lot smaller then. The Tribune reported in March:
Quinn wants to increase the personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 4 percent --- a 33 percent increase --- with the corporate tax rate rising from 4.8 percent to 5.8 percent. The tax hike would bring in $2.8 billion a year.
Quinn has been attacked by Brady for his tax hike plan in the past--and now the Republican ticket has even larger numbers to work with:
"Obviously, we have a difference of opinion with Gov. Quinn and his call for a 67 percent tax increase," Brady's spokeswoman Patty Schuh told NBC Chicago.
Even Senate candidate Mark Kirk ripped Quinn for the proposal. He released a video statement on his website linking his opponent Alexi Giannoulias to the hike.
"Earlier this year, Alexi Giannoulias said Illinois needed a tax increase--he just didn't say how much," Kirk says. "Now we know." The video statement is conveniently located next to a donation form on Kirk's website.
The Giannoulias campaign fired back with some serious snark:
"Given Congressman Kirk's well-known aversion to facts and details, it's not surprising he seems to think he's running for Governor today.," Giannoulias campaign spokesman Matt McGrath told NBC Chicago. "Of course, this is a man who recently voted against the largest middle class tax cut in history, but supported and continues to defend the irresponsible Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that generated the largest deficits in U.S. history and contributed nearly $1 trillion to the national debt. With that record, I'd probably consider running for a different office, too."
Meanwhile, Brady is planning a press conference where he will presumably hammer Quinn for the new tax hike numbers, which won't help matters according to a new Rasmussen poll:
Thirty-seven percent (37%) of Illinois voters approve of the job [Quinn] is doing as governor, down seven points from earlier this month, while 61% disapprove.
The Republican holds a 13-point lead among men, but women are evenly divided between the candidates. Brady picks up support from 88% of Republicans, while Quinn is supported by only 61% of those in his party. Brady has a modest lead among voters not affiliated with either major political party.
No word yet on whether Vaught is in any hot water for the statements he made to Bloomberg about the new tax numbers.