Entries in Increase (3)


Illinois Set to Hike Taxes: Necessary or Bad for State's Economy?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- As states across the country face mounting budget deficits, Illinois is preparing to hike taxes to cover a $15-billion budget shortfall.

In a plan just passed by the legislature and set to be signed by Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois will more than double its state personal income tax rate and also levy increases on corporate income taxes to preserve some state services.

The personal income tax rate will jump from three to five percent, a 66-percent increase that some argue will hurt Illinois' economy and drive business to other states.

State Sen. Dan Duffy, a Republican, called the tax increase "the nuclear bomb of job bills," and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, a Democrat, has said the hike will result in job losses.

But others say it's more important to keep the state government on track and programs in operation.

"I pity women trying to work and afford child care because these services were about to go away," Maria Whelan with Illinois Action for Children told ABC's Chicago affiliate, WLS.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Blue Shield Policyholders May Face Rate Hikes Up to 59 Percent

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Thousands of Blue Shield individual policyholders could see their insurance rates increase by as much as 59 percent on March 1, The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

The California-based health insurer attributes the hikes to rising healthcare costs and expenses stemming from newly enforced healthcare laws.

If implemented, a total of 193,000 policyholders would have their rates increased by an average of 30 to 35 percent.  Out of that total, about one-in-four customers would be faced with cumulative increases of more than 50 percent throughout a five month time period.

Blue Shield policyholders, including Michael Fraser of San Diego, were notified of the successive rate hikes.  After reviewing the notice, Fraser learned that his monthly bill would go up from $271 to $431, an increase of 59 percent.

California insurance commissioner Dave Jones' office is reviewing the proposed increases.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Minimum Wage to Increase in Seven States

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HARRISBURG, Pa.) -- A planned increase of the minimum wage, intended to counterbalance economic inflation, will take place in seven states Jan. 1.

The Keystone Research Center reports that the wage adjustments, expected to range from nine to 12 cents, will "modestly boost the incomes" of about 647,000 minimum wage workers in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington State.  The pay raises came about through six state ballot initiatives and 2005 legislation in Vermont.

Keystone Research Center labor economist Mark Price hails the wage increases, and expects the new wages will boost economic recovery on state and federal levels.

"Long term, boosting the incomes of working families and strengthening the middle class are the only ways to restore healthy job growth without sustainable deficit spending," said Price. "Increasing the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation would be a great place to start."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio