Feeling the 67% Illinois Income Tax Hike

Will Illinois income taxpayers finally notice that they are paying two more percentage points to their government?

Will Illinois income taxpayers finally notice that they are paying two more percentage points to their government?

It took long enough, but Illinois wage earners will start seeing the extra two percent taken out of their checks this month.

At the same time the Democratic Party’s income tax hike went into effect two years ago, the Feds cut the Social Security tax by two points.

One cancelled out the other, so people in Illinois can be excused for not noticing what Illinois Democrats did to them.

Now with the reinstatement of the Federal payroll tax, Illinois employees might just notice the 67% state income tax of two years ago.

Then, again, maybe they won’t.


Feeling the 67% Illinois Income Tax Hike — 1 Comment

  1. The article below doesn’t pertain specifically to IL, but it’s the same here, Chicago similar than D.C. (or perhaps worse?).


    Big Companies, Special Interests Hire Private Congressional Delegations to Lobby Government
    By Dave Levinthal on May 2, 2011 4:07 PM

    When AT&T goes forth to lobby the U.S. Congress, the company brings its own congressional delegation — six members in all.

    These politicos are no longer elected officials, but close enough: Former Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and John Breaux (D-La.) represent the telecom giant, as do ex-Reps. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.), Vic Fazio (D-Calif.), Jim Davis (D-Fla.) and Michael Forbes (R-N.Y.).

    And AT&T is hardly alone in tasking congressional alumni to do its corporate bidding on Capitol Hill.

    In all, 43 different companies, organizations and special interest groups last year employed at least three former congressmen as registered federal lobbyists, a Center for Responsive Politics analysis indicates.

    Together, they spent hundreds of millions of dollars last year lobbying the federal government on a spectrum of issues, from the highest of profile — health care reform, financial regulatory reform — to the comparatively obscure — technical taxation matters, lithium-ion battery cells, digital television converter boxes.

    They likewise represented a number of disparate industries and concerns, from fossil fuels to electricity generation, health care to tobacco, shipping to banking, motor vehicles to railroads.

    But those differences didn’t prevent these corporations and special interests from displaying an only slightly-less-than-universal unwillingness to divulge details, however small, about the practical benefits of using former congressmen to lobby current congressmen. Or about what issues they worked on. Or whether they’ve been successful by their employer’s measure.

    “We never comment on any of our lobbying activities or lobbying expenditures,” Joy Sims, senior communications director for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, told OpenSecrets Blog.

    “We are not going to comment — it’s just not something we comment on,” said Dan Whitten, vice president of strategic communications for America’s Natural Gas Alliance.

    “We’ll just go with no comment,” said Stephen Cohen, a Goldman Sachs spokesman.

    Margaret Mitchell-Jones, a spokeswoman for defense contractor Northrop Grumman, noted that “Northrop Grumman is fully compliant with all regulations governing federal lobbying reports and the filing of said reports with the government.” She then added: “We do not comment on consultants who work for the corporation or the services that are provided to the corporation by its consultants.”

    And Jennifer Wall, a spokeswoman for Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), stated in an e-mail that her company doesn’t “talk about our lobbying strategies publicly, but I can tell you that we work with many different partners and stakeholders who share our mission of advancing patient health and innovation and protecting U.S.-based biopharmaceutical jobs.”

    Such no-comment statements come from companies and special interest organizations that bothered to comment at all.

    Of the 15 entities with four or more former congressional members on their lobbying rosters, seven did not respond to OpenSecrets Blog phone and email inquiries, including AT&T. The other non-responders included FedEx, General Electric, Comcast, Verizon, Reynolds American and the Association of American Railroads.

    Additionally, a Blue Cross/Blue Shield spokesman noted that the four congressmen employed by various health insurance companies using the Blue Cross/Blue Shield moniker are separate organizations, and therefore, should not be considered as reporting to the same employer.

    The companies and special interests who in 2010 hired at least three former members of Congress to lobby on their behalf are as follows:
    Lobbyists Company / Special Interest

    Six AT&T, General Electric

    Five FedEx, Comcast, Verizon
    Four Northrop Grumman, General Motors, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Pew Charitable Trusts, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Reynolds American, Goldman Sachs, Association of American Railroads
    Three Prudential Financial, Caesar’s Entertainment, Sanofi-Aventis, American Health Care Association, Dow Chemical, American Institute of CPAs, Entergy, ESM SMT, European Aeronautic Defence & Space;

    ESM Group, American Petroleum Institute, Visa, Roche Holdings, National Association of Broadcasters, Royal Dutch Shell, Edison Electric Institute, Environmental Defense Fund, Space Exploration Technologies, AREVA Group;

    Credit Union National Association, Peabody Energy, Financial Serivces Roundtable, Thomson Reuters, Lockheed Martin, Time Warner Cable, Apollo Advisors, Fortune Brands, Lend Lease Corp.


    An exception to the lobbying code of silence is General Motors, which hired four former members of Congress to lobby a federal government that owned a majority stake in the flagging auto giant for most of 2010.

    GM, says Washington Policy and Communications Director Greg Martin, engages policy makers on a number of complex governmental issues that affect the economic and competitive fortunes of automakers.

    “For competitive reasons, we believe we have an obligation to remain engaged at the federal and state levels and to have our voice heard in the policy making process,” Martin said. “Because of the complexity of the issues and regulatory process that involve the auto industry, GM retains a variety of firms based on their expertise and deep experience in specific policy areas just as competing companies and industries do.

    “For that reason,” he continued, “it is not unusual that these firms employ former congressional members or staff. We view these former officials as only adding to the overall depth of expertise and insight to the firm’s team — all of which helps GM to communicate its policy position more effectively.”

    Former Reps. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas), James Bacchus (D-Fla.), William H. Gray (D-Pa.) and Tom Loeffler (R-Texas) all represented GM as lobbyists in 2010, a year in which the company spent $9.57 million on federal-level lobbying efforts — its fourth highest total since 1998, when the Center first began tracking lobbying expenditures. The year also marked GM’s first profitable year since 2004, with the company going public in November after the federal government lent the automaker billions since December 2008 to keep it afloat.

    GM spent $3.58 million alone during this year’s first quarter, new filings with the Senate Office of Public Records indicate. Gray and Bonilla again lobbied for GM during this year’s first three months, the Center’s analysis of Senate records show.

    For its part, the Pew Charitable Trusts, which in 2010 employed four ex-congressmen as lobbyists, also proved more forthcoming about its political influence efforts than most, releasing a statement to OpenSecrets Blog addressing several questions submitted in writing. (The Pew Charitable Trusts is a former Center for Responsive Politics funder, with its most recent grant expiring in March 2010.)

    Former members of Congress, the Pew Charitable Trusts’ statement says, “provide a valuable level of expertise on issues that Pew is working to advance. They offer us helpful advice, based on their experience, on how to educate current members on the facts and analysis that they need to more fully understand legislation they may be considering.”

    Issues on which the organization’s former member of Congress-turned-lobbyists worked last year include a new food safety law: they played “a helpful role in educating members of Congress on the science underlying the problem and ways to make our nation’s food supply safer,” Pew wrote.

    Pew’s statement also noted: “The same approach held true for our work to build support for global conservation legislation, which would require the federal government to coordinate its various efforts on conservation and development issues worldwide.”

    As for whether the Pew Charitable Trusts would employ ex-congressional members in the future, the organization said such a decision “is driven by fact-based research and information. We make decisions about how best to communicate information to the Hill on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances of each issue that we pursue.”

    Pew reported $639,300 in federal lobbying expenditures during 2010, up slightly from the $603,150 it spent in 2009. Prior to 2009, it had never spent more than $337,600 during any one year.

    Senate records indicate Pew spent $200,000 on federal-level lobbying efforts during the first quarter of this year, easily putting it on pace for its largest lobbying output ever.


    Although three, four, five or even six former members of Congress lobbying on a single special interest’s behalf may seem stout, such figures are hardly records.

    During 2000, Lockheed Martin employed 22 former members of Congress as registered federal lobbyists — a record for a single company in one calendar year, the Center’s research indicates.

    That’s six more than the 16 ex-congressmen Lockheed employed as lobbyists in 1999, the second-greatest number during one year.

    During 2010, Lockheed employed three former members of Congress as lobbyists: Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.), Rep. Jack Edwards (R-Ala.) and Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Ala.).

    Below are the top 20 examples of companies employing former members of Congress during a single year:
    Company Number Year
    Lockheed Martin 22 2000
    Lockheed Martin 16 1999
    Verizon 14 2005
    Lockheed Martin 13 1998
    Lockheed Martin 13 2002
    Lockheed Martin 13 2003
    Verizon 13 2000
    Lockheed Martin 12 2006
    AT&T 11 2005
    Lockheed Martin 11 2001
    Lockheed Martin 11 2004
    Lockheed Martin 11 2005
    Verizon 11 2007
    Sanofi-Aventis 11 2007
    AT&T 10 2004
    AT&T 10 2008
    Verizon 10 2006
    Verizon 10 2004
    Verizon 10 2003
    Verizon 10 1999

    Center for Responsive Politics researcher Matthias Jaime contributed to this report

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