SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Senate Republican Minority Leader Christine Radogno said a tax increase is inevitable, given the state’s woefully inadequate pension funding levels and a legal ruling against legislation to revamp pension obligations.

“We have to bite the bullet and pay it,” Radogno said. “The payments have to be made. That does put Illinois at a disadvantage.”
Radogno said lawmakers likely will consider hiking the state income tax or taxing retirement income, rather than increasing the state sales tax or instituting a tax on services.

Illinois is one of the few states, which doesn’t tax retirement income, she noted. Any plan would have to avoid encouraging retirees to join others who’ve moved because it’s cheaper to live in another state with lower taxes, she said.

Radogno said she wasn’t optimistic about an end to the state’s budget impasse in the near future. It’s possible Chicago representatives could force Democratic leaders to the negotiating table so a deal could be reached before January when only a simple majority is needed to take votes on difficult issues, such as raising taxes, she said.

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