Governor Quinn’s budget plan might be unavoidable

A politician who supports raising taxes? Say goodbye to your comfy chair at the statehouse. A politician who supports raising taxes amid a national recession? You might lose more than just your job. And yet, less than two years away from a gubernatorial election, that’s exactly what Gov. Pat Quinn is suggesting. Yes, it’s political suicide. But it also might be the only option to save the state from even graver financial hardship.

A politician who supports raising taxes? Say goodbye to your comfy chair at the statehouse.

A politician who supports raising taxes amid a national recession? You might lose more than just your job. And yet, less than two years away from a gubernatorial election, that’s exactly what Gov. Pat Quinn is suggesting.

Yes, it’s political suicide. But it also might be the only option to save the state from even graver financial hardship.

It has been 20 years since the state has raised income taxes, largely because of political reasons. Yet our newly ascended governor proposed doing just that to pull the state out of an ever-expanding budget deficit on Wednesday afternoon.

Considering everything that Quinn has put on the line with less than two years to prove he deserves a full turn at the office of governor, we can only hope that his proposal to up the income tax to 4.5 percent from 3 percent means every other option has been exhausted.

Obviously, the tax and fee increases included in the governor’s budget aren’t what Illinoisans want to hear.

It’s tough to ask the middle class to take on these additional burdens after years of government mismanagement, especially amid an economic crisis, and that’s exactly who will be hit the hardest.

We hope adding more expenses to already crunched spending plans isn’t the tipping point for families already struggling to make ends meet. We understand the difficulty faced by parties on both sides of the budget, but unfortunately without legitimate opportunities for spending cuts, Quinn’s plan might be the only viable option.

After laying out his plans, Quinn suggested that anyone with criticism suggest alternative ideas. We ask for the same. All too often, we hear complaints without any real solutions to the problem.

A support of this tax increase is sure to take away votes in the 2010 election, and our state legislators will do their best to poke holes in it. But there is a time and a place for complaining; it’s not here and it’s not now. Illinois needs drastic changes to get out of its “deficit dilemma.”

At the end of the day if Quinn’s plan is the only one on the table, it’s the direction we’ll have to go. If there’s a better option, we have yet to hear it from someone in Springfield.

Quinn’s plan is not and should not become the end-all, be-all solution. We hope constructive dialogue can come up with the solution that will put the state on the right track.

It is the duty of our elected representatives to do what’s best for the state, not what’s best for the next election.

We’re encouraged the governor has put aside politics in presenting a plan. We hope others will do the same.

Wednesday was a day to generically question the governor’s proposal. Today is a day to figure out concrete solutions.