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Most Illinois Seniors Saying No to Retirement Tax

An AARP survey of about 1,000 Illinois seniors shows 9 in 10 oppose any plans for a state retirement income tax. (iStockphoto)
An AARP survey of about 1,000 Illinois seniors shows 9 in 10 oppose any plans for a state retirement income tax. (iStockphoto)
December 21, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As Illinois continues its nearly six-month-long budget battle, a new survey shows much of the state's senior population is opposed to a retirement income tax.

Illinois' AARP took a poll of about 1,000 state residents ages 50 and older.

Gerardo Cardenas, a spokesman for AARP Illinois, says many retired Illinois seniors are living on fixed incomes, and about 70 percent said they would have to cut their household spending if such a tax were made law.

"Meaning cutting on basic things like groceries, health care costs, including prescription drugs,” he points out. “Another 60 percent would be forced to move to another state where the laws didn't include a tax on retirement income."

Currently, there are no official plans in the state legislature for a retirement income tax. However, the Daily Herald reports that some Illinois lawmakers have been talking about the idea privately, and the state's deficit continues to grow.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers and the governor are debating how to fund public services.

Cardenas says the state shouldn't look to retirees to raise new revenues.

"Some things that the legislators need to understand, just because somebody's retired doesn't mean that they live comfortably,” he states. “About 20 percent of Illinois retirees live on Social Security alone, which means a lot of them are living in poverty."

Some state lawmakers have already been opposing the idea, including Democratic Sen. Tom Cullerton and Republican Rep. David McSweeney.

Many states do impose a tax on retiree income, though often with an exemption until a certain income threshold is met.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL