Raising taxes may solve financial crisis

According to a new study, Illinois is one of the 10 most financially troubled states in the country. Go figure. The report, released by Pew Center on the States, a nonpartisan think tank, also says our state struggles with many of the problems that led to an “economic disaster” in California. With a hefty budget gap, circling the drain around $11 billion, Illinois has been in dire need of a solution for years, and now the time has come­— or to at least it’s time to make a decision. A University economist who co-wrote an analysis of Illinois’ fiscal crisis, Daniel McMillen, said Illinois can avoid the disaster that’s occurring in California by doing the unspeakable: raising taxes.

It’s one thing no politician wants to even whisper, let alone publicly declare: their plan for financial reform. Talking about raising taxes is generally political suicide or close to it. But when the gubernatorial election is close to three months away, it’s time for gubernatorial candidates to take us, the voters and constituents, seriously.

Gov. Pat Quinn has publicly come out with a plan to raise taxes if re-elected next year. With that declaration, he lost a lot of public support. However, no decision on the issues that are making this election important will make everybody happy; someone will always be singled out and someone will always disagree. Republicans and Democrats across the gubernatorial board have come out saying the way to financial reform is through financial transparency, to cut the deficit contained in Pat Quinn’s FY 2010 budget, and to roll back taxes and fees to competitive levels. Almost none of the candidates mention raising taxes or cutting government funds and spending. Very little actual solutions that seem tangible to the public have been proposed. It’s a political move to avoid speaking directly of either of those two, but as voters, we deserve the right to know what may happen with our taxes and our budget.

As students, we might not have been involved in politics years ago. But for those close to graduation, and even for those just beginning higher education, our next governor will shape our education, and it’s important for us to know how. One of the University’s art programs, a $2 million program based at the Phillips Collection modern art museum in Washington, D.C., is under review for whether it will continue to operate.

We understand that there are going to be unfortunate side effects of this recession. Our gubernatorial candidates need to become more transparent with their realistic financial reform plans. As McMillen said, a tax increase may be the solution.