THURSDAY'S ruling that Gov. Pat Quinn does not have the constitutional authority to strip legislators of their salaries was expected.
So was Quinn's vow to appeal that ruling and seek a stay on issuing paychecks until a higher court could rule -- which was denied on Friday.
"The reason I suspended legislative paychecks in the first place – and refused to accept my own – is because Illinois taxpayers can't afford an endless cycle of promises, excuses, delays and inertia on the most critical challenge of our time. Illinois' pension crisis is costing taxpayers millions of dollars a day; robbing our children of the education and public safety services they desperately need; and holding our economy back from real recovery," Quinn said in a release.
Quinn got what he was really looking for when he used his line-item veto to delete funds he said were for lawmaker pay. He got applause from a segment of the population that, quite frankly, doesn't like members of the General Assembly.
The goal of the salary suspension was to boost the governor's popularity with ... people who don't like government.
Going forward, Quinn may find that his ability to get his agenda passed by the Legislature has been damaged. It's hard to imagine that lawmakers are going to work hand-in-hand with the guy who vilified them and hurt their bank accounts.
Quinn also may find that currying favor with people who don't like government, probably doesn't accomplish much when it comes election time. Lots of people who don't like government don't vote. Many of those who do vote will vote for a conservative or will want to see incumbents defeated. None of those outcomes would be good for the governor.
Income tax question
The League of Women Voters of Illinois makes the point that the single-rate income tax in Illinois represents a heavier proportional burden for lower and middle income families than it does for wealthy families.
The League supports a measure that would give voters a chance to weigh in on a graduated income tax in November 2014. They know they'll face an uphill battle because the single-rate income tax is part of the Illinois Constitution. It will take a 60 percent vote in each chamber of the Legislature to get it on the ballot. The it will take a 60 percent approval by those voting to give lawmakers the power to approve a graduated tax.
If the drive succeeds, proponents will have to launch a huge awareness campaign. It will take a compelling argument to convince many voters to support anything that could be construed as a tax increase.
Speakers at an informational meeting held in Quincy on Thursday did their best to remind people that a graduated income tax could lower taxes for most wage earners. They also said taking less income tax from low-income residents will serve as a stimulus for the economy.
"About 70 percent of the (U.S.) economy is consumer spending, so when people have more money and they buy things, it helps grow the economy," said Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.
"It's kind of counter-intuitive that you look at an overall tax increase (on high-income families) to create more spending, but that's how it works."