State Audit Questions 40% of Taxpayer Dollars Spent in Cook County

A state audit released Tuesday morning questions 40% of taxpayer dollars spent on community organizations in Chicago and Cook County. Illinois State Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) and his Republican colleagues in the House and Senate are urging the Auditor General to refer findings from the February 2014 audit of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) to the Executive Inspector General (EIG) for further review and potentially the U.S. Attorney for further investigation of potential criminal activity.

“The State of Illinois has fleeced the taxpayers, what we have found today is criminal activity,” said Rep. Kay. “When critical care services remain on the chopping block and transportation funding for schools have been cut, the Governor was able to increase limited state resources for the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative from $20 million to $50 million in less than two months.”

In May 2012, State Representative Dwight Kay Chief Co-Sponsored House Resolution 1110 (HR 1110) to audit the state funded program due to concerns as to whether adequate accountability and oversight existed over the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) to ensure tax dollars were spent appropriately. HR 1110 directed the Auditor General to conduct a performance audit of State funds provided by or through the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI). In August of 2010, Governor Quinn’s office gave the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority the duties of creating and administering the program. The NRI is a program designed to reduce risk factors associated with violence in 23 communities in Cook County, however according to the state audit, not all the most violent Chicago communities were included in the program.

Since October 2010, over $117 million has been earmarked by Governor Quinn, not the legislature to fund the program in question. In fact, over a two year period 40% of state funds were questioned in the audits findings, in other words, the state does not know where the money went.

Rep. Kay added, “It’s time for the legislature to make sure that every tax dollar spent is passed through the General Assembly for approval. We should not allow the Governor to spend 3% of the state budget at his discretion, except for cases of true public emergency.”

Graduated Tax Threat to IL Jobs, Families

Illinois State Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon), House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and members of the Illinois House Republican caucus today announced their opposition to the graduated income tax proposal introduced by legislative Democrats. The announcement was held at the St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia. The plan, currently filed as HJRCA 33, would replace the state’s current flat tax with a graduated income tax system, with rates to be determined by the General Assembly.

“Illinois is already a high-tax state. Raising taxes on middle-class families will further damage our state’s economy. History has shown that the 67% income tax hike has not balanced Illinois’ checkbook nor will it bring in more long-term revenue. A graduated tax certainly won’t solve the spending problem in state government. It would do more harm than good for Illinois,” said State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon).

Democrats argue that under their so-called “progressive” tax system, only the rich will pay more. However, the House Democrats’ plan includes seven tax brackets and a top rate of 9 percent, raising taxes on all income over $18,000. Under a graduated tax system, as taxpayers’ incomes rise with inflation, lower and middle income families are subjected to higher tax rates – commonly referred to as “bracket creep.”

“There is a movement in Springfield by the majority party to move Illinois from a flat income tax to a graduated tax,” said Leader Durkin. “The same party responsible for years of overspending, over taxing and a mountain of debt wants to move to a graduated tax for one reason and one reason only – to raise taxes and spend more money.”

High taxes are already causing employers and families to leave Illinois. According to the 2013 United Van Lines Migration Study, Illinois has the second-highest record of out-migration of any state. Nearly 278,000 Illinoisans left the state in 2012.

The non-partisan Tax Foundation’s analysis of the proposed graduated income tax found that:

Illinois’ “State Business Tax Climate Index” score could fall to 44th from its current 31st ranking if the proposed progressive income tax passes;Illinois already fell from 17th over the last few years with several rounds of tax increases, which did not succeed in alleviating Illinois’ financial situation or improve the economy; andHigher and more progressive income taxes generally contribute to worsening economic performance.

Approval of a measure to amend the Illinois Constitution in favor of a graduated tax would require a three-fifths majority vote of the Illinois House and Senate. In the House, where Democrats currently hold 71 seats, a three-fifths majority equals a minimum of 71 votes. All 47 House Republicans joined Leader Durkin today in opposition to a graduated tax.

“A graduated tax system would give a blank check to the Democrat majority in Springfield to set the rates,” Durkin added. “Under their plan, as taxpayers’ incomes rise with inflation, working families are forced into higher tax brackets, eating away at hard-earned savings and adding financial strain to families struggling to pay their mortgage, pay for a child’s education, or care for an aging parent. Plain and simple, a graduated tax would threaten job creation, weaken our economy, and hurt Illinois families.”

Click "Here" to listen to Representative Kay discuss the graduated tax threat.

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Rep. Kay Sponsors Legislation to Eliminate Lame Duck Session

Today, Illinois State Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) and members of the House Republican caucus unveiled legislation to eliminate the lame duck session following the November general election cycle.

“Since the birth of the lame duck session, the voice of Illinois’ taxpayers have been ignored,” said Rep. Dwight Kay.  “Lame duck sessions produce laws which otherwise have no chance at becoming law.  In 2011, the legislature passed the 67% income tax hike just hours before I was sworn into office, the reason why the vote took place was because many of my colleagues including myself would have voted against the tax hike and it would have failed.”

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Rep. Kay Disappointed by Quinn’s State of the State

Today, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn gave his annual State of the State Address to both chambers of the Illinois Legislature at the State Capitol in Springfield. While Quinn tried to paint Illinois’ economy as a bright picture, Illinois State Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) does not believe Quinn has worked with the legislature enough to focus on the issues which will get Illinois back on a track to prosperity.

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