Governor Blagojevich wants to tap big business for cash

Governor Blagojevich wants to tap big business for cash
By: Arnold Wyrick
Looking into his 'crystal ball' Illinois' Governor Rod Blagojevich wants to tap big corporations in Illinois for some tax revenues. "With my Tax Fairness Plan we'll be able to invest a record 10-billion dollars more into our schools over the next four years," Governor Blagojevich said.
But his plan won't be an easy sell to big business in the state.  In fact any company with more than a million-dollars a year in annual sales will have to pay more taxes. "I'm in agreement with the Governor.  The large corporations should pay more then what they're paying now.  The smaller businesses are paying the brunt of the load, and the people are too," says West Frankfort Mayor Larry Warren.
Some residents aren't so sure that taxing multi-billion dollar companies for more of their earnings is the answer. "I think it's a good idea as long as they don't tax the corporation to much, causing them to leave Illinois," says John Lamb of Carbondale, Illinois.
Administrators in higher education institutions are also looking for more help in the fiscal year from the governor. "I understand higher education is also earmarked in this budget plan.  So we're optimistic that there will be some movement for higher education.  Because we're back in 2002 funding levels," says John A. Logan College President Robert L. Mees, Ph.D.
The Illinois' governors plan for repaying the state's heavily under funded pension plans would involve leasing out the state lottery.  And the funds from the deal used to repay the pension programs, and interest compounding yearly on the borrowed funds from the pensions.
"I'm against it.  I think it's the wrong place to get money from.  I think that for pensions the money should come from the state, as it has been in the past.  Until he (Governor Blagojevich), took some away," says Terry Spec of Ava, Illinois.
According to the governor, the average citizen in Illinois pays $1,500 annually in state taxes, compared to more than 12,500 corporations who earned 263-billion dollars paying on average $151 in state taxes.
Some of the new found revenue in the governor's plan would also provide health insurance for the 1.4 million people in Illinois who currently have no health coverage.
If the governor is successful in winning the support of the legislature for his tax plan, it's estimated to generate an additional 6-billion dollars in revenue for the state.