Forby forgets vote to increase taxes
State Sen. Gary Forby’s (D-Benton) memory may be getting a little fuzzy as he has denied that he has ever voted for tax hikes in the Illinois Senate.
Voting for as much as $5.2 billion in tax increases in 2009, Forby couldn’t recall that he made a vote that would have essentially increased Illinoisans taxes and doubled the state's income at the same time. Forby told The Southern Illinoisan that to the best of his knowledge he has not supported a tax increase during his time in the General Assembly.
While Forby’s memory may not go back as far as 2009, he had come out in opposition to temporarily raising corporate and personal tax in 2011. This was for a bill that former Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law. More recently Forby has said the state needs to look at ways to cut the budget before imposing a tax increase on the state’s residents.
Forby told The Southern Illinoisan that he'd consider a proposal to raise revenue through tax increases only if the state looked at all areas to cut spending.
Forby said he thinks a good way for the state to lower its expenditures is through the elimination or reform of the Central Management Services, which he believes duplicates a lot of services already taken care of through the Illinois’ government. Forby didn’t elaborate on what items in the Central Management Services could be cut, but he did tell The Southern Illinoisan that the state needs to tighten its belt.
In terms of balancing the budget, Forby told The Southern Illinoisan that any budget deal needs to have bipartisan support, something that Forby has talked openly about in other reports.
The about-face by Forby is surprising given his record in 2009 when he switched his vote from present to yes to support the tax increase imposed on Illinois residents. Forby was reported as saying after the 2009 vote that, “I cannot go home and throw my nursing homes [residents] out in the street, shut my hospitals down and not pay our bills. It’s definitely going to hurt me, but you know what, sometimes you have to do the right thing. You just can’t lay back and hide all your life.”
Forby has been openly criticized by Dale Fowler, his Republican opponent for the Senate seat in the 59th District of Southern Illinois, for voting for a tax increase in the General Assembly during this time. Fowler serves as mayor of Harrisburg, a position he was elected to unopposed in a second term.
Forby has been a part of the General Assembly since 2001 and is running for reelection against Fowler in November. He is a big proponent of the coal industry in Illinois and also supports education in the state. He serves as chairman of the Labor Committee, where he champions job creation in the state.
While Forby has said he is now not in favor of tax increases, it remains to be seen how he will vote on any new legislation that will increase taxes for Illinois residents.