* The Tribune once again demands that Gov. Pat Quinn sign the Chicago pension reform bill…
• The widely hailed state pension reform bill Quinn signed in December doesn’t rely on property taxes. But it relies heavily on the income tax — the tax Quinn is trying to keep at a high rate. So at the same time he knocks Emanuel for raising the issue of higher property taxes to cover local pensions, Quinn is reaching into a different taxpayer pocket and demanding high income taxes … to cover state pensions.
• In January, Quinn signed a Chicago Park District pension reform bill that relies in part on borrowing to reduce the district’s pension liabilities. Park District officials don’t deny they likely will turn to property taxes to pay off the bonds.
• A pension bill now zooming through the General Assembly addresses Cook County’s pension funds. Pushed by County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the bill would require the county to pay more into its pension funds going forward. Preckwinkle isn’t saying where she’ll come up with the money in the county budget. But she hasn’t ruled out property taxes. “Everything is on the table,” she has said repeatedly.
So if Preckwinkle’s bill gets to Quinn’s desk, will he block it, too, out of deep (and newfound) concern for property taxes?
The difference between income taxes and property taxes is that income taxes are (except when people go broke before tax day) based on the ability to pay. Property taxes are not. And, of course, the Tribune has railed and railed and railed against the higher income tax level, so it’s being as hypocritical as Quinn is here: Allow a possible property tax hike to pay for city pensions, roll back the income tax hike which pays the state’s pension obligations.
Other than that, it’s difficult to argue with the rest of the editorial’s logic.
* Mark Brown: Quinn on tax question: Exasperating? Yes. Deceptive? No: But the accusation that Quinn’s support for a tax increase breaks some promise to the people of Illinois, who had elected him in 2010 on a campaign platform that notably INCLUDED his support for an income tax increase, is off base.