It's a classic because it shows how corporate welfare and lobbyists trump the "common good" which I hear a lot about from my limosine liberal friends.
In January Governor Pat Quinn and his fellow Democrats passed a $2 billion tax hike, the biggest in Illinois history, with the income tax rising 67% and the effective corporate tax rate rising to 9.5% from 7.3%, which gives Illinois one of the highest business tax rates in the nation.
That law fired up a motorcade of lobbyists from major Illinois companies like Motorola, Caterpillar, Sears and others to descend on Springfield and seek tax breaks lest they leave for states where business taxes are much lower. More than a dozen companies have already left for Indiana and Wisconsin.
So Mr. Quinn started giving special tax passes to the biggest and most influential 1%. The Chicago Tribune reported in May that Mr. Quinn had already doled out corporate welfare to at least 80 firms, costing the state nearly $500 million since 2009. The Chicago Merc and the Board of Trade complained that the Quinn tax grab would cost them $50 million a year.
Naturally, Mr. Quinn justifies the carve-outs as essential to job creation. But in January Democrats claimed that tax increases would have no economic impact. Now small and medium-sized businesses that don't have lobbyists are stuck paying the higher tax rates. Mr. Quinn's policies benefit the 1% of politically connected businesses at the expense of the other 99%, often small shops with 10, 20 or 50 employees.
Once again the lesson is that high tax rates fail to raise the revenue that liberals claim, not least because liberal politicians follow their tax increases by passing out favors to the rich and powerful.