Define Temporary

In recent days, I’ve been trying to figure out what the word “temporary” means to people. I did a quick survey in the office and here’s what I learned:

Diane… Temporary means “part-time, not forever, just for a short period of time”.

Katie… Temporary means “not for long”.

Debbie… Temporary means “not permanent”.

Linda… Temporary means “part-time”.

Sarah… Temporary means “intermittent”.

Melanie… Temporary means “short term”.

Kelly… Temporary means “not permanent”.

I did a quick survey in my home and here’s what I was told:

What does Temporary mean?...

Jayne…“not permanent”

Kenzie…“Lasting for a short period of time”

Mason…“nonpermanent – anti-forever”

Ben…”It won’t always be in place and that it is non-permanent”

Brant…“like my allowance?” (Actually, he said “Not concrete, just a quick fix”)

Ellen…”not there for a long time, no future”

I did not survey the dogs but if I had, I bet they could answer the question…

No one said “temporary means forever”. 

No one said “temporary is for an extended period of time”. 

No one said “temporary means permanent”.

Each of these “average” Illinoisans answered the question clearly and decisively… 

So why do Illinois politicians have NO knowledge or understanding of the meaning of the word “Temporary”?

I was at a meeting recently with a group of farmers from the northeastern portion of Illinois. The group of farmers was talking about Farm Bureau organizational policy, government pensions, governmental dysfunction and taxes. 

The farmers began talking about the Temporary Income Tax that was put in place by the General Assembly by Speaker Madigan/Senate President Cullerton and signed by Governor Quinn in 2011. There was a general assumption and agreement in the room by these farmers that the Temporary Income Tax would become permanent. Further, the majority felt that the General Assembly and the Governor’s intention all along was that the Temporary Income Tax would be permanent…the word “temporary” was simply a “wink, wink” by these elected leaders. A cynical consensus that it is a foregone conclusion even before it has been decided…that public belief has no relevance in the decisions of the State. 

Does this seem wrong to anyone?

When did “lying” to the general public become the acceptable norm? 

When did the public become so jaded about the process? 

Why do we accept this as politics as usual in Illinois? 

When will the public demand better?

I remember (bitterly, I might add) in 1989 when Mike Madigan (yes, our same speaker) put in place a Temporary income tax increase and then in 1993 when this Temporary income tax became permanent (Gov. Edgar) to solve the school funding crisis… How did that work out? I remember feeling very betrayed by my government…a big lesson in political trust for a young Bob.

This current Temporary Income tax was sold to the voters as vital to shore up the Illinois State budget, to catch up on the massive stack of bills owed by the State, and to focus on the pension monster… How is that working out so far? They keep taking our money, they spend it all, they don’t fix a thing, and then they want more of our money. There is never enough to feed the beast.

The Temporary part does not have to become permanent. Several states including California, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon have recently chosen NOT to extend to permanent the temporary income tax increases which the state adopted. A novel concept that temporary did not mean permanent.

And now, on top of the “temporary” shenanigans, there is an effort being made to permit the Illinois General Assembly to impose a graduated income tax…a stealthy way to grab even more tax dollars from the people employed in this state.

Will we simply watch from the sidelines and then complain after the Legislators do it to us again? It will all depend on citizen apathy …Time will only tell.

Next month, perhaps we should have a discussion about the “Temporary” nature of the area toll way system.


State of Illinois

A brief Income Tax History

1969 First Illinois Income Tax signed into law at 2.5% of wages

1983 Income Tax increased to 3% of wages

1984 Income Tax rollback to 2.5% of wages

1989 Temporary Income Tax added to increase to 2.75% of wages

1990 Temporary Income Tax increased percentage to 3% of wages

1993 Temporary Income Tax made permanent 3% of wages

2011 Temporary Income Tax Increased to bring rate to 5% of wages 

Temporary Income Tax increased to bring Corporate rate to 9.5%

2015 Scheduled Sunset for Temporary Income Tax to bring rate down to 3.75% of wages

Scheduled Sunset for Temporary Income Tax to bring Corporate rate down to 7.75%

2025 Scheduled Sunset for Temporary Income Tax to bring rate down to 3.5% of wages

Scheduled Sunset for Temporary Income Tax to bring Corporate rate down to 7.3%