Survey Respondents Split on Tax Issues
More than 300 people responded to a survey by state Sen. Susan Garrett on taxes, budget, pensions and education.
Constituents of state Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) are almost evenly split when it comes to letting last year’s state income tax increase automatically drop in three more years, according to an unscientific survey Garrett took last month.
Garrett asked nine questions in the email poll on taxes, education, budget issues and pensions. She said the answers were monitored to prevent people from voting more than once. She has conducted a number of these surveys during her tenure and finds them valuable.
“This was the largest response we have ever hand except for the tax increase,” Garrett said referring to the tax hike imposed a year ago by the Illinois General Assembly.
At that time, the legislature increased the state income tax from three to five percent for the next four years. After four years, the tax will automatically drop to 3.75 percent.
Garrett wanted to know if people still wanted to see the rate decline in 2015 since the state continues to have budget issues. Of more than 300 surveyed, 51.49 percent want to see it decrease while 48.1 percent want the higher rate to remain in place.
A much larger percentage (65.2 percent) were not surprised the tax hike did not eliminate the state’s budget shortfall.
When it comes to continuing to let property taxes support education in light of increasing levies and declining real estate values, 51.8 percent are in favor and 48.2 percent against.
A narrow margin of respondents thinks Illinois should continue to offer businesses tax incentives to keep them in Illinois—54.7 percent in support and 45.3 percent opposed—but a much larger group (76.5 percent) believe small to medium size concerns are not treated the same.
A large group of people (83.4) want the state’s community colleges to focus on job training for local business.
When it comes to pensions, an overwhelming majority (72.1) percent want high school districts and state university systems to contribute to teacher’s pensions. A similar number of people (72.9 percent) want to change public employee pensions to give workers choices that include more contribution from them to maintain the same level of retirement income.
The largest group of people (93.2 percent) wants schools to find ways to cut costs while maintaining educational standards.