These have not been easy times for Illinois bean counters and those who depend on them. An already weakened state balance sheet, like the pocketbooks of its already stretched citizens, was hard-hit by the recession. Ever since, the state has been caught in a cycle of rising costs, unpaid bills, public protests, and political gridlock.
That's why the Illinois Senate rocked the political world when it voted to raise the state's personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent early Wednesday morning.
The tax plan amounts to a 67 percent increase in individual income taxes, far more than the 33 percent increase Governor Pat Quinn proposed - and campaigned on - during much of 2010.
All told, the tax increase deal is expected to raise an estimated $6 billion in additional revenues for the state - an enormous windfall for state coffers and a big help to its operating budget.
But a closer look at the Illinois' fiscal condition suggests that these new tax revenues won't be enough to solve Illinois' mounting fiscal woes.
For starters, the revenue impact won't hit all at once; it will take time before the state reaps the benefits of the tax hikes. Meanwhile, the state still needs to pay unpaid bills.
In addition, by