SPRINGFIELD, ILL. (KMOX) – Gov. Bruce Rauner is hardening his anti-tax stance as he readies a re-election bid following a major legislative defeat.

Rauner is replacing key staff with leaders of a conservative group that recently criticized him for even considering a tax hike to end a budget impasse. Rauner’s new chief of staff and a top policy aide, among others, come from the Illinois Policy Institute. The group has advocated slashing Medicaid and mass layoffs of state workers.

Some in the GOP say Rauner is shoring up support from a political base he’ll need in an off-year election. Despite Rauner’s tax criticisms, the Illinois Department of Revenue is offering some guidance to navigating the state’s new income tax rates.

Spokesman Terry Horstman says all the details are now online at tax.illinois.gov.

“General information is available on our website with various links to a summary of Illinois income tax changes, guidance with detailed instructions, and withholding tax rate tables,” he says.

The rate for individuals increased from 3.75 to 4.95 percent, the corporate income tax is increased to 7 percent. The taxes are retroactive to July 1, it’ll be up to employers to collect and remit the extra.

A credit ratings agency has removed Illinois from a credit watch now that the budget debate has been settled.

S&P Global Ratings now says the outlook on debt ratings is stable. It says the odds of Illinois’ credit falling to below investment grade in the next year has “substantially diminished,” but Illinois will “suffer an extended fiscal hangover” from the stalemate. However, Moody’s Investors Service has indicated it might cut Illinois’ rate regardless of the budget.

Illinois has the lowest credit rating of any state and agencies had warned of another downgrade to “junk” status if lawmakers didn’t approve a budget.


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