Cullerton's Proposal Leaves Many Unanswered Questions

Mar 08, 2011, 11:54 ET from AARP Illinois

State Cannot in Good Conscience Ask Older Illinoisans to Pay More When it's Cutting Services for the Elderly

Statement from AARP Illinois Senior State Director Bob Gallo

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "State Senate President John Cullerton's proposal to tax retirement income is quite short on details and leaves many unanswered and critical questions about alternative measures the state could take to bring its fiscal house in order.

"When Mr. Cullerton talks about taxing retirement income, he should provide fundamental details on how the revenue will be used. Is he asking private sector retirees to fund the state's public employee pension shortfalls? If that is the case, would that be fair to ask?

"Mr. Cullerton also said that revenue generated from taxing retirement income could be used to lower the sales tax. But if that is the case, why not then look at other options including broadening the sales tax to other areas so that it's not as regressive as it is now?

"At a time when severe cuts are being proposed to critical services that protect Illinois' most vulnerable seniors, we believe the state should not be proposing piecemeal tax fixes one at a time but a comprehensive approach to a fair and progressive solution to what ails Illinois.

"We believe states should have a progressive tax base that provides fair and constant streams of revenue. Unfortunately, Illinois keeps taking regressive approaches to fair taxation that further deepens its fiscal crisis."