Leading Illinois Republicans on Thursday lashed out against the state's income tax hike as a "failure" one year to the day after it was approved by Gov. Pat Quinn and the state's majority-Democratic legislature.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) joined the Illinois Policy Institute in criticizing the hike as making the state less business-friendly.
They hope to see the income tax hike repealed immediately though, at the same time, some state political insiders suspect the temporary increase may become permanent, as the Illinois Statehouse News reported.
(Scroll down to watch a report on the one-year anniversary of the income tax hike.)
Standing next to $1,000 worth of food and other grocery items meant to represent the $1,000 in additional taxes they say Illinois families, on average, are paying since the tax hike was approved, Radogno criticized the hike as taking "one week's pay out of the pockets of Illinois residents" while, at the same time, "the monumental problems of state government remain."
Cross said that while "the majority party made many promises that its giant tax increase would solve the state's budget problems, that has not been the case."
Cross added, as reported by CBS Chicago, that the only way the state will avoid "going down this continuous road" would be by addressing "some of the critical components of structural change."
State Rep. Rich Morthland (R-Moline) called the hike a "job killer" responsible for sending 60,000 jobs out of the state.
The lawmakers also pointed to a recent survey conducted by the Illinois Policy Institute which reported that 68 percent of its respondents oppose the tax. Seventy-eight percent of its respondents said they felt the state's economy was not better off today than it was a year ago and 65 percent of respondents doubted whether the additional tax revenue was used responsibly by the state, Fox Chicago reports.
Gov. Quinn's office has disputed the Republican leaders' claims about the tax hike's effectiveness, telling the Associated Press that the increase brought in $7 billion in additional revenue in the last year.
Kelly Kraft, a Quinn spokeswoman, told CBS that while the governor is not pleased by the increase either, it has been necessary to keep the state's budget balanced.
When Gov. Quinn approved the 66 percent personal income tax increase -- from 3 percent to 5 percent for the next four years -- early last year, he told reporters "it's important for their state government not to be a fiscal basket case."
Earlier this week, Moody's Investors Service, citing the state's "weak management practices" and the most recent legislative session which "took no steps to implement lasting solutions," downgraded Illinois's credit rating to the lowest of any state in the country. While other agencies maintained their previous ratings of Illinois's financial health, state Republican leaders, too, described the Moody's downgrade as "very bad news."
The governor's recently released three-year budget projection, despite calling for additional cuts coming down the pike for state operations down the board, warned that the state's $500 million budget deficit could grow by 2015, in large part due to unfunded state employee pensions.
WATCH a report on the one-year anniversary of the Illinois income tax hike: