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Lt. Governor Simon announces transparency initiative 

 
As tax filing deadline nears, Simon introduces taxpayer receipt

CHICAGO – April 14, 2013. As Illinois residents prepare to meet Monday’s deadline to file their taxes, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is calling for more transparency on how income tax dollars are spent. Simon wants taxpayers who file online to receive an itemized receipt that illustrates where their money goes and how it fits into the state’s multi-billion budget.

“When you buy groceries, you automatically receive a receipt outlining how your money was spent,” Simon said. “Taxpayers deserve the same clear information on how the state spends their money on education, prisons and pensions.”

Simon’s office is working with the Department of Revenue and the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) to design a taxpayer receipt, which will be introduced before the start of the next tax filing season in January. The taxpayer receipt will be available to the roughly 500,000 residents who file online for free, and a webpage will be available to those who file by other means.

“This new feature will give taxpayers a better understanding of how Illinois spends tax dollars on schools, public safety and the services they and their neighbors rely on,” said Assistant Budget Director Abdon Pallasch.

Simon will also work with Revenue and GOMB to ensure that the receipt is created and made available annually. This transparency initiative comes at no cost to the taxpayer.

Simon’s office offered a sample receipt for a taxpayer who pays $1,000 in income taxes to the state.

The illustration should help taxpayers understand the state’s growing pension obligations and the strain that places on other areas such as Medicaid and the state’s backlog of unpaid bills, Simon said. It also reflects the state’s move toward “Budgeting for Results,” a budget system that aligns spending with how effectively a service or program achieves its objectives – rather than spending being based on historical funding.

A similar taxpayer receipt has been proposed at the federal level by Congressman Mike Quigley, and the White House has operated a taxpayer calculator as shown here.