BLOG: Hello, Washington

Donelle Pardee Whiting

Illinois is in trouble.

Thanks to rampant spending, the state faces an $11.6 billion deficit.

A major part of Quinn’s solution is to increase the state income tax by 50 percent.

That would increase the individual rate to 4.5 percent of a person’s income.

On the flip side, he also said he proposes raising the allowable exemption from $2,000 to $6,000.

We talked about the proposed tax hike a bit in our editorial meeting. The question of what else could the state do came up.

Well, how about curbing spending? Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was all for beneficial programs, without thinking about where the money was supposed to come from.

Marianne Gillespie, editor of the Chillicothe Times-Bulletin, said she thought healthcare for all children is a bit much.

Of course, being a mother my first instinct was to tell her she was nuts, but as we discussed it more, I realized she was not saying making sure all of Illinois’ children had healthcare was a bad thing.

What she was really saying is not all of Illinois’ families need help with healthcare.

Think about it.

Families pulling six figure incomes and with jobs that have medical coverage do not need state help with their children’s health care.

If they do, then they need to be looking after their own budget.

The program, albeit a good idea, should not include those children who are not at risk.

The point of the matter becomes, instead of instantly jumping on the “Sorry, but we have to raise taxes” bandwagon.

That should be a last resort, when nothing else works, especially in today’s economy.

State Sen. Dan Rutherford said it best when he said the state needs to be looking at creating jobs.

Then, those of us who have not been downsized don’t have to see any more of our money go to a government that has holes in its pockets.

By the way, that goes for the national economy crisis as well.

Take Peoria for example.

When Peoria’s leaders realized they were facing a financial shortfall, they looked at how to save money.

They are still spending, but more frugally.

Although Peoria officials are looking at a sales tax hike for the city, they are saving that as a last resort.

Basically, the fat cats in Springfield — and Washington for that matter — need to look to themselves and tighten their belts just like the rest of us.