Republican Jim Oberweis and Democrat Corinne Pierog can claim agreement on one thing for sure: The "temporary" 66 percent increase in the state income tax had better come to an end when it is supposed to on Jan. 1, 2015.
Oberweis, of Sugar Grove, and Pierog, of St. Charles, are running for the 25th District state senate seat. The district includes all or parts of Elgin, Wayne, West Chicago, Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, Elburn, Campton Hills, Sugar Grove, Bristol, Yorkville, Montgomery and Aurora.
Asked in a Daily Herald editorial board endorsement interview if he was afraid the tax increase is permanent, Oberweis replied, "Aren't you?"
Oberweis said that he intends to make sure that temporary tax stays temporary. It's yet another business-unfriendly thing the state does, he believes.
The key to making the increase go away, he said, is controlling spending, including reform of state-funded pensions, decreasing the size of the legislature and questioning the services the state provides. Oberweis laughed heartily at Gov. Quinn's proclamation that he had made "huge cuts" in spending in the current budget.
The increase in the personal and corporate income tax is bringing the state $7 billion annually. It raised the personal rate from 3 to 5 percent, and the corporate rate from 4.8 to 7 percent. The personal rate is scheduled to drop to 3.5 percent in 2015.
Democrats were largely responsible for approving the tax increase, in a lame-duck session in January 2011. There is some speculation that in late 2014, as the expiration looms, legislators and others will make the case that it should be extended because the state needs the money.
"I would not vote to support that," Pierog said. " ... There has to be a sense of trust with your legislator that they are going to do what they said."
To do otherwise would cement people's low opinion of Illinois politicians, she believes.
"People say Springfield is a complete disaster, and that there is no integrity in Springfield," Pierog said.
Pierog does not, however, favor repealing the increase.
Oberweis, 66, is chairman of Oberweis Dairy and the founder of Oberweis Securities. He has run for Congress and governor.
Pierog, 61, owns Sustainable Leadership Solutions. She serves on the St. Charles school board, and previously ran for state Senate in the current 28th District.