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Madigan, in his own words

Friday, Mar 21, 2014

* Reboot quotes House Speaker Michael Madigan about his tax hike plan

It sounds like an easy sell to the Democrats who control the General Assembly and, should it succeed, to voters in November. And as Madigan pointed out, it’ll be a difficult “no” vote to a lot of Republicans.

“I would think that there would be Republicans from areas of the state where they don’t have any millionaires and they ought to take a good hard look at this and say, ‘Why not let the people decide,’” Madigan said. […]

Madigan even had an answer to those who will argue that his 3 percent “surcharge” will drive millionaires and their taxable incomes from the state.

“Well, if they’re in Illinois today they’re probably so much in love with Illinois that they’re not going to leave,” Madigan said at his press conference. “And they’ll be grateful for this opportunity to support lower education.”

I’m not sure many people are “in love” with Illinois government these days. And, also, “lower education”?

* The schools angle

“I think that what we’re doing here is calling upon people in Illinois who are well-equipped to provide support for our education which is available to everybody in the state,” Madigan said.

Madigan says this works out to about $550 per student. Springfield’s District 186 is cutting staff, programs and security to deal with a $4.7 million shortfall. The so-called “millionaires tax” would give the struggling district $8.3 million to fill the hole and then some.

“If you’re a district, this is money you don’t have today,” Madigan said.

Rep. Rich Brauer says that’s not how schools should get relief. The Springfield Republican said the state should increase education funding by taking it out of entitlement programs.

I’d like to see Rep. Brauer’s list.

* How many people are we talking about here?

Madigan said there are 13,675 millionaires in the state.

* Color me skeptical

Madigan, who is also state chairman of the Democratic Party, said the amendment is not a shot at Rauner.

“It’s introduced today because we had some time to discuss it with our members in the House and it’s been well received,” Madigan said. “I happen to think this is a good idea. I’ve given a lot of thought to this. What we’re doing here is calling upon people who are well-equipped to provide support for education.

Yeah. Nothing about Rauner. Sure.

* Same goes for this

On Thursday, Madigan said he had “not yet” decided how to address the question of whether the current 5 percent income tax rate should be kept in place.

“That’s a separate issue,” Madigan said. “This is separate from the question of whether the income tax increase would be extended.”

* Best line of the day

The speaker was asked if the tax hike would apply to him. “Do I make a million dollars…The answer to your question, in a good year, I would be subject to this,” Madigan replied.

Asked if he’s been having good years, the soon-to-be 72-year-old speaker replied, “At my age, any year is a good year.”

* Reboot also compiled video highlights

* Meanwhile, let’s look at some react to Madigan’s millionaires tax hike from a different angle. First, the Illinois Federation of Teachers

“Given the drastic cuts to education in recent years, and the threat of cutting nearly $1 billion more in this year’s budget, we are encouraged by the Speaker’s proposal to invest more money in public education for our children. This is a very positive first step in moving us toward a fair tax system in Illinois, with lower rates for lower incomes and higher rates for higher incomes. It also begins to address our twin problems of inadequate and inequitable school funding, and we look forward to discussing it further.”

The so-called Fair Tax has long been dead and Madigan’s proposal just sticks yet another fork in it.

* A Better Illinois is the group pushing that “Fair Tax” proposal

We agree with Speaker Madigan that millionaires should pay a higher tax rate than minimum wage workers and the middle class.

We appreciate the Speaker’s first step toward averting the pending fiscal cliff, and remain committed to long-term, structural reform that addresses our need for stable and sustainable revenues to invest in our state’s most important priorities – education, health and human services, and public safety.

Our campaign also remains committed to giving a voice to the 77% of Illinoisans who support a Fair Tax – including tax cuts for the overwhelming majority of lower and middle income families – by working with legislators in both chambers so voters can make the ultimate decision on this November’s ballot.

* A Better Illinois carefully tested the language of support for the proposal. But We Ask America also tested the proposal three different ways in three different polls in order to test various messages and came up with these results

* Illinois currently has a flat-rate income tax where lower-income wage earners pay the same percentage as those making millions of dollars a year. Supporters of a proposed graduated income tax say they have a plan that would lower tax rates for 90 percent of Illinois taxpayers while increasing rates on higher earners. Would you support, or oppose such a plan?

    Support 57%
    Oppose 29%
    Not Sure 14%

* Would you support or oppose a change in Illinois’ income tax that would grant lawmakers broad authority to more easily raise tax rates—even on middle class workers?

    Support 7%
    Oppose 86%
    Not Sure 7%

* Some Illinois lawmakers have proposed a constitutional amendment to change this state’s income tax from a flat rate where everyone pays the same percentage, to a graduated rate that requires a higher percentage paid as your income increases. We’d like to know whether you generally approve, or disapprove of a constitutional amendment that would change the state’s income tax from a flat rate to a graduated rate.

    Support 33%
    Oppose 49%
    Not Sure 17%

- Posted by Rich Miller        

38 Comments
  1. - Anon - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Why is this referendum for school funding so bad? School districts have recently been putting referendums on the ballot asking for an increase in the sales tax. Is this referendum bad as well? What about a property tax increase referendum?


  2. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    If Democrats want to tax 1%, they could tax sale of options contracts at CBOT.

    This wouldn’t require amending the Illinois Constitution.

    It would be a tax on the capital class, most of whom live out of state.

    Democrats want to talk about taxing the rich w/o actually taxing the rich.


  3. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    If Democrats want to tax 1%, they could tax sale of options contracts at CBOT.

    This wouldn’t require amending the Illinois Constitution.

    It would be a tax on the capital class, most of whom live out of state.

    Democrats want to talk about taxing the rich w/o actually taxing the rich.


  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    –Rep. Rich Brauer says that’s not how schools should get relief. The Springfield Republican said the state should increase education funding by taking it out of entitlement programs.–

    What is this guy talking about?

    Isn’t he one of the Springfield statesmen who wants to cut taxes, but no state employees, then cried bloody murder when there wasn’t $1 million in state funds for a high school rodeo?

    The cheese sauce in his horseshoe clogged his brain.


  5. - OneMan - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    Is this step 1 in the cost shift of pensions onto local districts?


  6. - dave - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    Man… those We Ask America questions are pretty loaded — no wonder they got the results they got.

    Lets start with this one:
    * Would you support or oppose a change in Illinois’ income tax that would grant lawmakers broad authority to more easily raise tax rates—even on middle class workers?

    Umm… IL already has “broad authority” to raise tax rates - on all workers. What a silly question that is completely meaningless to the Fair Tax conversation. I mean, this makes it clear where IPI has gotten this silly talking point from, but lets be at least a little honest.

    And this one:
    * Some Illinois lawmakers have proposed a constitutional amendment to change this state’s income tax from a flat rate where everyone pays the same percentage, to a graduated rate that requires a higher percentage paid as your income increases. We’d like to know whether you generally approve, or disapprove of a constitutional amendment that would change the state’s income tax from a flat rate to a graduated rate.

    “Pay a higher percentage…” implies that everyone’s taxes would go higher. Its a poorly worded, and loaded, question designed specifically to get the results they got.

    The first question is the only question that isn’t really loaded, and it gets good and realistic results.


  7. - JSlim - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    Dave- Really??!! The first question is obviously biased in the pro- direction; second in the anti- direction; and third is even-handed. You likely believe A Better Illinois’ polling too… and find them at all credible.

    Thank you WAA for some real results on that question.


  8. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    The whole thing is an election year stunt, and his attempts to spin it otherwise is just shortening what would in reality be, a pretty short shelf life anyway.

    Madigan needed to have lit this political bomb and then left it alone to let the stink linger. By explaining it, he exposes his disingenuousness. It is surprising that Madigan was so enamored of this little political stunt, he didn’t do what he normally does and get off stage before it goes sour.

    Fundamentally, this entire political stunt uses ideas and sales techniques only Democrats appreciate. It depends upon a voter base so enthralled with government power and size, so gullible as to accept “its for the kids!” bullcrap, and so full of jealousy towards wealthy citizens - only a Democratic mind could really fully embrace it. Madigan’s proposal is like a liberal wet dream and it pulls at all the heart strings of voters who hate businesspeople, but love their governments. Oh, and those ’sigh’ kids!

    It speaks to Democrats, so it will rally the Democrats right now, to the hapless and incompetent Mr. Quinn. The Governor needs it. But as Mr. Madigan will discover by Monday, a shrew political stunt is still recognized eventually as a political stunt - and it will stink worse than a week-old fish head after a week on Illinois Beach.

    Madigan trumped Rauner’s nomination in the news spin cycle this week, but Rauner’s campaign win was not a fluke. Voters want change. Madigan’s millionaire tax is not a change at all. It just excites the base.


  9. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    ===those We Ask America questions are pretty loaded ===

    That was the idea, to test messaging.


  10. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    ===The first question is the only question that isn’t really loaded===

    LOL


  11. - G'Kar - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    While “lower education” was a poor choice of words, I suspect MJM meant K-12 education as opposed to post-secondary, or “higher education”.


  12. - Norseman - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    === Color me skeptical… ===

    It’s an easy color to be when dealing with politics. Especially, Illinois politics and government.


  13. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    Mr. Rauner’s win shows that voters want change. Government is broken. These voters will probably not be willing to believe that the reason Illinois government sucks, loses $54,000,000, can’t balance a budget, is corrupted with grants from legislators to political friends, has the worse bond ratings, is $100,000,000,000 in pension debt and can’t educate children is because it needs to tax anyone earning more than a million dollars a year.

    A leaky bucket like Illinois government and politics, isn’t losing money because it isn’t taxing its citizens enough. It is because it is full of political holes and greedy worms.

    Madigan’s solution is only feeding his ducklings and mushrooms, and it is not the solution voters supporting Rauner will support.

    Worse it isn’t addressing the reason Illinois government is such a bad value. That is what is driving the Rauner campaign and that is what the Democrats need to address to win.


  14. - Robert the Bruce - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    (1) Of course this is about Rauner

    (2) So what? A progressive income tax is part of the solution of balancing the budget, especially if the pension reform bill doesn’t hold up in court.


  15. - shore - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    “Well, if they’re in Illinois today they’re probably so much in love with Illinois that they’re not going to leave,” Madigan said at his press conference. “And they’ll be grateful for this opportunity to support lower education.”

    Let me break some news to the madigan/labor/establishment media crowd because we’re going to hear this term millionaire and wealthy a lot over the next several months as they attempt to save their scalps/machines/taxpayer lucre. Most “millionaires” in Illinois are not the rauner superstar finance guys, they’re suburban/chicago folks in their late 40s/50s/60s who sent their kids to CSL playing high schools, are empty nesters now with those “millions”-money they saved for retirement and were either upper middle management savers/small business owners/lawyer/mckinsey/accountant type folks who took the metra to work. They’re empty nesters, the real estate market has gotten better and after a winter like this, they’re more than happy to book it to a warmer state-arizona is popular or like former deerfield resident phil jackson and his kids and grandkids california/new york.

    Let’s also point out since I know a lot of these “millionaires” that most of them read newspapers and watch news and what they’ve seen from this man, his daughter, his party over the last dozen years is not a Mark Warner or even a martin o’malley technocrat democrat trying to go good, but aging machine trying to suck away their bucks. this won’t cut it with them.

    At some point in time the chicago and statewide media has to start calling out this bologna and thinking harder and using more intelligence in its coverage.


  16. - WhoKnew - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    CNBC has a study with Illinois rank 47th as the best state to live in with regards to Taxes paid. I would say the Illinois has a Spending problem!


  17. - SO IL M - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    First of all if you are interested in a “Fair” tax then research and learn about the Fair Tax. Dont just rename progresive income tax as Fair. Fair is applied to all people evenly. If that is not what you want dont lie about it but say you think one class of people should pay for the other classes.


  18. - Bobby Hill - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    “Madigan said there are 13,675 millionaires in the state.”

    This isn’t taxing millionaires…is it? This is taxing someone who made over $1m in a year. I know a lot of farmers who are probably millionaires. Two Combine farmers will fly past the $1M.


  19. - lake county democrat - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    How much would Madigan pay in taxes under the proposal? We don’t know - he refuses to release his tax returns.


  20. - Jimbo - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 1:24 pm:

    SO IL, you think the original is fair? The original “fair tax” had no more right to use the term than a progressive tax. When you live hand to mouth, 5% hurts a lot more than it does when you have a lot of disposable income. They forgo food, the wealthy might have to hold off on buying that ninth house. A flat tax is no more fair than the wealthy paying higher rates. The term was disingenuously applied in both cases.

    Regardless, I think we can agree that taking more from those who spend every dime on necessities is worse than taking disposable income from the well off. Can’t we?


  21. - Just a Reader - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    I’m confused, and I’m hoping that some of the smart commenters can explain things to me. (I’m tempted to say, “Talk to me like I’m stupid,” but that would be asking for trouble here, right? So I won’t say that!)

    I don’t understand why Madigan, and in the last few months progressive groups, are pushing a progressive tax rate.

    Since a progressive rate would take a constitutional amendment, I see it as dead on arrival. It’s hard enough to pass any tax increase, without the higher burdens of an ammendment.

    And I don’t see it as good politics. Tax increases are never good politics.

    So if it’s not about getting something passed, and it’s not good politics, what’s the game here? What am I missing?

    If Madigan or the Dems really wanted to pass a bill that would increase state funding and make the income tax more progressive, why not pass a bill that extends the 5% rate, or something between 3% & 5%, while at the same time increasing the personal exemption? I could see that passing. I could also see it being… well, not good politics, but at least less bad politics.

    I’m just a reader (look it up!), with no inside knowledge. But I really don’t get it.

    Please folks, help me out here!

    PS. I asked the same question last week, but as usual I was late to the topic, and I doubt anyone even saw the question.


  22. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    Brilliant strategy. Find the right way to advance the tax issue and then push for it. Put pressure on the other side to help support a popular issue, and if the other side doesn’t support it, it may have to step on political minefields in the future.

    I’d like to see the Democrats pull this rabbit out of their hats.


  23. - SO IL M - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    Jimbo—If you research the Fair Tax proposal you will find that it is not the same as the Flat Tax. That is a different proposal. It would tax people with disposable income much more than those who live hand to mouth. For instance the tax paid on a new cadilac escalade would be paid only by someone with the income to buy one no matter if they are a corporate exec who now pays income taxe or a drug dealer who pays no income taxe. The person who is only able to afford a 10 year old used car would pay no tax on that purchase.
    Yes we can agree on that. Its the amount the rest of us pay
    and how that tax is applied where we are haggling.


  24. - SO IL M - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    And boy i cant type today


  25. - phocion - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 1:57 pm:

    ===The first question is the only question that isn’t really loaded===

    Actually, the third question is the most objective.


  26. - Anonymouse - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    There’s 4X more state employees than millionaires. How long until Rauner says, okay, look — make an across the board 20% cut for all public employees and we’ll have more money than if we’d tax the rich. But wait — the only thing preventing the pay cut is the union bosses.

    “I’m Bruce Rauner, and I plan to Shake up Springfield.”

    Face it, the only losers here are the folks that actually keep the state running.


  27. - The Historian - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    So Madigan’s saying he presently/in recent years has annual income of over $1 million? Is this news to most folks here? This would seem to be major news to me!


  28. - Odysseus - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    I support a progressive income tax, but if amending the constitution to allow it is too hard, just set the personal deduction to $30K or so.


  29. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    ===just set the personal deduction to $30K or so. ===

    Can’t. Courts have ruled that violates the constitution.


  30. - Ahoy! - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 2:39 pm:

    Is this going to be like the lottery where the money goes to education and the money that was going to education goes somewhere else?


  31. - Pensioner - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 2:45 pm:

    ===Madigan’s proposal is like a liberal wet dream and it pulls at all the heart strings of voters who hate businesspeople, but love their governments.===

    Oh yeeeaaaaaah!


  32. - Pensioner - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    Going to schools? Why not. Picking one line item just like public pension haters did (back atcha haters). All goes to and comes from the same pot.


  33. - john doe - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 2:53 pm:

    rich,
    how does that violate the constitution?


  34. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    Because we have a flat tax, JD.


  35. - john doe - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    can we raise it at all? if so how much?


  36. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    ===can we raise it at all? ===

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think we’re at $2K now and that’s about it.


  37. - ejhickey - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 3:35 pm:

    Wouldn’t taxing retirement income raise more revenue and be easier and faster to do do since it would not require a CA?


  38. - john doe - Friday, Mar 21, 14 @ 3:57 pm:

    just one problem,politicians like to be re-elected.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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