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Today’s number: 13 percent

Thursday, Jan 3, 2013

* A recent Public Policy Polling survey of 500 Illinois voters shows overwhelming support for the concept of requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose their state income tax payments. According to the poll, 79 percent think it’s a good idea, including 75 percent of Republicans. Also, 68 percent say corporations don’t pay enough state income taxes. Click here to see the full poll, with crosstabs.

I wasn’t hugely surprised by the results. But check out this question

Do you think that most Illinois politicians better represent the interests of the people in their district, or more the interests of large corporations and their lobbyists?

People in their district………………………………. 13%

Large corporations/their lobbyists…………….. 70%

Represent both equally…………………………….. 5%

Not sure…………………………………………………. 12%

I probably shouldn’t be surprised by that result either, but, whoa, baby.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


24 Comments
  1. - Vasyl Markus - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    Not surprising. When I was down there, the question about a bill or policy was always, “Who supports it?” The question was rarely, “Is this is a good thing?”


  2. - walkinfool - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:37 am:

    “Large corporations/their lobbyists”

    – not the overwhelming bulk of small and medium-sized businesses who represent the most jobs and potential for job growth in our state. Let’s not overreact and even consider throwing out the baby with the bathwater.


  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    They must have been paying attention to that CME/Sears kabuki dance last year. And the chronic “job-creating” corporate grants passed out by headline-hungry governors and mayors.


  4. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:47 am:

    Off subject Rich. But I was wondering if the Tribune ever released the tape of Beverly Ascaridis. You were pretty sure John Chase was not lying and it would be proven with the tape ?


  5. - Sunshine - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    I have never for once considered that the poll results would show anything different.

    Large corporations and big donors keep these folks in office and provide them numerous perks.

    Joe and Jane Schmo simply are led to believe the campaign barrages and most know little or nothing of the person for whom they are voting. Large interest groups/lobbyists and corporations are keenly aware of whose vote they need, and they buy it through contributions, direct or indirect, campaign support, trips, meals, gifts, etc.

    Am I saying our elected representatives of the people are bought and paid for….I think so! So what’s new?


  6. - Just Observing - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 12:00 pm:

    Both poll questions are somewhat meaningless as most of the public really doesn’t grasp the nuances of those issues.


  7. - Crime Fighter - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 12:09 pm:

    “Am I saying our elected representatives of the people are bought and paid for…. I think so! So what’s new?”
    What’s New? The poll shows that many are no longer buying into the tea partyesque mythical status of the oppressed corporation and their disenfranchised millionaires. This indicates that aggressive propaganda campaigns by the Chamber, the Tribbies, Civic Federation, and the like haven’t won hearts and minds.


  8. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 12:19 pm:

    –Both poll questions are somewhat meaningless as most of the public really doesn’t grasp the nuances of those issues.–

    The nuances being that most large public corporations in Illinois pay oogats in corporate income tax and they don’t want anyone to know.

    No, I think they understand the nuances.


  9. - foster brooks - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    The way they cater to Commonwealth Edison is proof this pole is dead on.


  10. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 12:30 pm:

    The more telling question would be: “Do you think that your State Representative (or State Senator) better represents the interests of the people in your district, or more the interests of large corporations and their lobbyists?” (Would need to be cross-tabbed with party affiliation.)

    The vague “all politicians are corrupt” is usually followed with “but our rep does a great job for us.”


  11. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 12:56 pm:

    Kind of shows the level of understanding the public has of what is going on.

    The ‘blame’, if you want to use that term comes from how the print and electronic media present and amplify certain issues, leaning toward the easy story and the public for simply not focusing on what is going on because they have lives to live.

    It is laughable to consider that the legislature is biased toward corporations while billions of tax dollars are funneled to things constituents want. Shows how effective the populist argument of demonizing the corporations has been.


  12. - Dan Johnson - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 12:59 pm:

    I hope the House passes the bill next week. I would like our profitable large corporations to quit sticking the bill for state government on small businesses and individuals. I’m glad the Senate passed President Cullerton’s bill last month.


  13. - Norseman - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 1:02 pm:

    “oogats” - have to add that one to my dictionary.

    However, I have to agree with Word that the folks DO understand. The real problem is that the elected officials don’t understand.


  14. - Five Percenter - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    So it still won’t stop legislators and Patsie Quinn from cutting side deals that many small businesses would never get. Same old kabuki theater for the ILGA.


  15. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    –It is laughable to consider that the legislature is biased toward corporations while billions of tax dollars are funneled to things constituents want. Shows how effective the populist argument of demonizing the corporations has been. –

    In FY12, individual income taxes were $17B and corporate incomes taxes were $3B. Who’s paying for what?

    I’d laugh myself silly with that non-bias and demonization any day of the week.


  16. - Left Leaner - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 2:06 pm:

    Now that’s one heck of a PR problem - for all of them!


  17. - justbabs - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    I used to be one of the “but my legislator is great.” No longer. The redistricting has provided me with a rep who cannot think for herself. Follows the leader-always. Primary opponent came close last March. We’ll have to try again. Final thought, if 13% of Illinoisans think it, imagine what the rest of the country thinks.


  18. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    There is a rational economic argument that there should be zero corporate tax rate since those costs are just passed to the consumers as higher prices, and the stock holders as lower dividends, both of which are already hit with sales or income/capital gains taxes.


  19. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 2:53 pm:

    –There is a rational economic argument that there should be zero corporate tax rate since those costs are just passed to the consumers as higher prices, and the stock holders as lower dividends, both of which are already hit with sales or income/capital gains taxes–

    No, there’s really not, unless you’re talking about monopolies and have repealed the law of supply and demand.

    Consumers and businesses can always choose to spend their dollars with the competition or in other categories altogether.

    Much more goes into pricing margins than tax expenses.


  20. - reformer - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 3:14 pm:

    Since legislators raise far more campaign donations from corporations and lobbyists than from their constituents, it’s not surprising that the public assumes lawmakers put the special interest above the public interest.


  21. - Crime Fighter - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 3:19 pm:

    -There is a rational economic argument that there should be zero corporate tax rate since those costs are just passed to the consumers as higher prices, and the stock holders as lower dividends, both of which are already hit with sales or income/capital gains taxes. -

    This is the same argument that is used on the national level to give very profitable oil companies tax breaks. However this argument, among other things, doesn’t contemplate the huge common costs that must be recovered (or borrowed)from elsewhere. In this example, corporations cause huge costs in the form of the defense budget, environmental degradation,infrastructure and safety.


  22. - Just Observing - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 3:47 pm:

    === The nuances being that most large public corporations in Illinois pay oogats in corporate income tax and they don’t want anyone to know. No, I think they understand the nuances. ===

    === I have to agree with Word that the folks DO understand. The real problem is that the elected officials don’t understand. ===

    Ask those that were polled:

    1. What is the current tax rate for corporations?
    2. What are the current disclosure requirements for publicly traded corporations?
    3. How will the public benefit from greater disclosure?
    4. Should publicly traded and private corporations have similar disclosures, and why?

    You will get a whole lot of blank of stares.

    I’m not taking a position one way or the other, but polling a bunch of people that have no clue is not very valuable.


  23. - Norseman - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 5:42 pm:

    === You will get a whole lot of blank of stares.

    I’m not taking a position one way or the other, but polling a bunch of people that have no clue is not very valuable. ===

    So are you advocating a qualifying test before someone can respond to a poll?

    Polls are intended to provide information on what people are thinking. Everyone reading a poll needs to be wary of methodology and logic issues.

    With respect to this question, I’ve seen plenty examples affirming their belief that elected officials “better represent” the interests of large corporations than constituents. Even so, I know it is not as simplistic in reality. You have other opinion leaders in play as well, i.e. unions and other special interest groups. You will see solons recognize and respond to issues unique to a large portion of their district. A prime example is the recognition by Springfield area legislators that voting in favor of pension restructuring would be adverse to a large segment of their constituents and therefore they are wisely opposed knowing to be otherwise would endanger their reelection chances.

    I interpret the results of this question as an expression of frustration with their elected officials.


  24. - Wilson Pickett - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 7:40 pm:

    Only 70%? I thought it would be higher.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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