Illinois Policy Institute

March 21, 2005

Dr. David Tuerck
Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University
8 Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

Dear David:

I wanted to write and thank you and your staff for all of your assistance in Illinois. We just recently received our 2005 Illinois-STAMP and have begun implementing our program.

We are currently using it to assess two proposed tax increases. The first is an education funding reform scheme - sold as property tax relief - that hikes income and sales taxes hikes by $3.8 billion. The second is the Governor's budget. In it, Governor Blagojevich has proposed $.75 increase in tobacco excise taxes.

Our expectations are that this year's STAMP program will be every bit as successful as 2003's. As you recall, that year we used STAMP to analyze $541 million in proposed business taxes and fee hikes. Illinois-STAMP told us that hikes would fall $100 million short of the Governor's predictions and that business investment would drop by $110 million. New job growth would lag.

The following spring, as policy makers gathered to negotiate the FY 2004 budget, the Associated Press and the Illinois Economic and Fiscal Commission reported that revenue from the business tax and fee hikes had fallen short by $100 million. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce also issued a report stating that business investment had fallen by $120 million. And guess what? Illinois lagged behind the nation in job growth. The STAMP model proved to be extremely accurate in assessing the budget's impact. Many of the Governor's tax and fee hikes for FY 2005 were rejected by the General Assembly. We believe a good deal of the credit belongs to BHI and Illinois-STAMP.

Finally, your staff has been very helpful in helping us analyze these increases and he has offered some great guidance on how to best use the model. BHI's leadership has been indispensable.

Clearly, Illinois-STAMP exceeded all expectations and helped our young institution gain valuable credibility in the halls of the Illinois Statehouse. Thank you again for all of your help.


Gregory K. Blankenship