DECATUR - Decatur-area lawmakers spoke out Thursday against early news the governor's office will seek to increase the state's income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent.
David Vaught, Gov. Pat Quinn's budget director, has said Quinn will try to pass the tax hike in January, after the 2010 elections. He said he estimates the move could net the state $6 billion.
For Decatur lawmakers and their election challengers, opposition to the increase was unanimous Thursday.
State Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion, reaffirmed his opposition to an income tax increase.
"I have been consistently opposed to an income tax increase and voted against the latest attempt to raise taxes in 2009," Flider said. "I believe the governor's budget director is completely misguided in his beliefs that the legislature will support such an idea in January of 2010. Raising taxes will only hamper efforts to boost the economy."
Adam Brown, the Decatur Republican running against Flider, called the move ironic in light of the 20 percent pay raise Vaught and a number of other staff members working for Quinn received. Vaught received the raise after being promoted to his current position.
"I feel like balancing the budget on the backs of hardworking Illinois residents is not appropriate at this time," Brown said. "(Vaught) got a 20 percent increase in his pay just last month. Maybe he can afford this income tax increase, but I don't think the working families here in Illinois can."
State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon said taxpayers are not going to be willing to trust state government with more money considering the state's current fiscal situation.
"I think it's a bad idea and the last thing you want to do to people in the middle of a recession," McCarter said. "We need more jobs; we don't need more taxes."
McCarter's electoral opponent, Democrat Tim Dudley of Decatur, said he didn't believe the General Assembly could pass such a measure in good conscience.
"An income tax increase is not the answer," Dudley said. "We need to cut spending and create opportunities to grow jobs in this state - not punish the people working hard to make a living."
State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.