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Biss criticizes Democratic Party, Madigan

Friday, Apr 21, 2017

* Sen. Daniel Biss profiled on Public Radio

“The Democrats had been in power in Springfield for 12 years, and yet, we still had the fourth-most-unfair tax system in the country,” Biss said, “where we taxed the middle class and the working poor more, and the richest Illinois residents, who have been the beneficiaries of two generations of all the economic growth aren’t being asked to pay their fair share.”

Biss supports replacing the current flat tax system with a graduated income tax. He also wants to peg property taxes rates to income.

In addition to taking potshots at the flat-tax system, Biss also criticized House Speaker Michael Madigan’s “concentration of power” after 32 years in office. He says a constitutional amendment he filed would change that.

“You can’t serve as speaker or senate president or minority leader for more than 10 years,” Biss said. ” I just believed it from day one that that concentration of power is unhealthy. And I’m prepared to say that now, even in a Democratic primary, because it’s true. And I believe in being honest, even about our own warts as a party.”

He’s right about the Democrats not doing anything on tax fairness. Everything was either symbolic (non-binding referendum) or didn’t move after passing one chamber. Same goes in recent years for a minimum wage increase and a whole host of other “progressive” ideas. A whole lot of show and almost no go.

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- Posted by Rich Miller        

28 Comments
  1. - Downstate Dem - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 9:38 am:

    Check back to the 1996 General Assembly … I can’t remember the bill number, but then State Rep. Tom Dart introduced a bill to put a ten-year limit on the years Senate Presidents and House Speakers can serve. Dart, the grandfather of leadership reform, can tell you where that bill ended up … Rules Committee for a quick death ha.


  2. - A Jack - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 9:41 am:

    Peg property taxes to income? Won’t that hurt schools in poor neighborhoods even more? And schools in districts with many retirees would just be out of luck?


  3. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 9:42 am:

    Of course it has nothing to do with the Republicans.


  4. - Robert the Bruce - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 9:45 am:

    Biss raises great points on D rule not leading to progressive policy on the big things.

    Our taxation and school funding formula are the envy of many red state republicans.


  5. - Avisail Garcia, AL MVP - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 9:48 am:

    Props to Biss for criticizing his own party.

    Someone wake me up when Aldercreature Pawar does the same…instead of claiming he doesn’t know Mike Madigan.


  6. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 9:51 am:

    Love the Democrats who now support trickle down economics!


  7. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 9:55 am:

    Peg property taxes to income.

    What could possibly go wrong with that?

    Hundreds of thousands of tax free income from municipal bonds for a wealthy person would not only insulate that person from paying income tax but now minimize property taxes too. Good grief!

    Senator Biss has exposed what is wrong about the tax code. A man who pays virtually no Federal income tax because of generous tax policy for families with kids and popular items like mortgage and property tax exemptions is desperately trying to shift even more tax burden to those productive members of society who are paying for everything already.

    Apparently Senator Biss thinks he is paying his fair share (virtually nothing) but others aren’t.


  8. - Archiesmom - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    Since when is a graduated income tax trickle down economics?


  9. - Archiesmom - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    OK, people keep talking about this not paying federal income tax. Does anyone remember that this is because he had so little income the last two years because of his Senate paychecks being held hostage?


  10. - Archiesmom - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    9:57 comment - The delightful transcription software translated Biss as this. Sorry.


  11. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 10:25 am:

    Good for Biss, for seizing on something (term limits) from the Grand Bargain that Rauner blew up. This is staking a position on higher ground. We can live with term limits for GA leaders, can’t we?

    Democrats have to get serious about tax reform and really push to tax higher earners more. This couldn’t be more relevant, because we have a billionaire governor who is creating so much damage in his quest to force middle class workers to take huge cuts, including loss of union rights.This is a big reform issue and critical to the state operating in a fair and humane way.

    In my wish list world, marijuana legalization and progressive taxation will be big issues in this election.


  12. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    Go back for the five years Archie and look at the income tax liability

    Paychecks were stopped last year not the previous 4

    Protesting Donald Trump’s taxes sure fires up the base but what exactly does that do to improve life in Illinois?


  13. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 10:31 am:

    Can someone refresh my memory. Didn’t Biss also criticize Madigan when he first ran. When he won didn’t he introduce some “anti Madigan” bill but not really put a lot effort into it but was able to say look I introduced the bill and they killed it. And didn’t he after elected take campaign money from him. Seriously, if my memory is right this happened, right. Makes me question how much effort he will put into this if elected.


  14. - Ok - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    For those of you who can’t understand zi believe he is saying peg property taxes to income AFTER a graduated income tax is in place. This is called comprehension.


  15. - anon2 - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    The property tax is regressive. Consequently, it’s appropriate for those who oppose regressive taxation to search for ways to make the property tax less regressive.


  16. - Arsenal - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 10:51 am:

    The problem with the “Blame Madigan” strategy is that the Dem candidates can create daylight between themselves and Madigan.


  17. - OneMan - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    So how would you peg property taxes to income in a way that works…

    Would it be locally graduated, because the near south suburbs have very high property tax rates and low incomes compared with other areas in Cook County.

    Would the income level that in accelerates property tax rates be the same in Harvey vs Oak Brook? Seems like that would just help Oak Brook and wouldn’t do much for Harvey.

    A graduated tax rate with some sort of constitutional limit (the highest rate can’t be more than 3x the lowest rate) would seem to be a better idea.


  18. - Demoralized - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 11:10 am:

    Lucky:

    Are you droning on again about Biss’s taxes and his earnings? Your continued bad mouthing of his income is unbelievable and insulting to others with similar incomes.

    == because of generous tax policy for families with kids and popular items like mortgage and property tax exemptions is desperately trying to shift even more tax burden to those productive members of society ==

    Who knew that having kids and a house made me an unproductive member of society. You are a real piece of work


  19. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 11:38 am:

    It is insulting that he thinks others don’t pay their fair share Demoralized.

    He pays virtually nothing and is ginning up class warfare on the people who make huge sacrifices to earn more money and pay the bills in this country and state.

    If politicians raise taxes on Peter to pay Paul they can always count on Paul’s vote.

    Socialism doesn’t work, check the Venezuelan news this week.


  20. - Fixer - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 12:20 pm:

    So LP, you brought up firing up the base… what’s Rauner actually accomplished as governor besides firing up his base?

    Asking for a friend.


  21. - Mr. Smith - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 12:29 pm:

    I pay my bills on time, I don’t borrow irresponsibly, I don’t drive a luxury car. I don’t take fancy vacations, or own a yacht, or my own airplane. I used my share of my parent’s estate to get my child through undergrad debt-free at a public university. I pay my state and federal taxes on time. I don’t live in a gated community, and I donate pretty generously to charities every year.

    I have done that on an educator’s salary. I have to pay a higher percentage of my salary for my mortgage, for my food, for sales taxes, than someone making CEO money. I don’t get to protect nearly as much of my income as those “job creators” who somehow don’t seem to be creating jobs. Why should we pay the same tax rate?


  22. - Huh? - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 12:48 pm:

    Have to wonder if Biss got permission to get out of the yard.


  23. - Demoralized - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 1:10 pm:

    ==Socialism doesn’t work==

    LOL. Socialism? Please.

    ==the people who make huge sacrifices to earn more money and pay the bills ==

    There you go again with that income thing. You have a problem with people who aren’t rich? Because your comments continue to be disdainful towards those people. You decry class warfare and then engage in it yourself.


  24. - ste_with_av_en - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 1:30 pm:

    Good for Biss, though the blaming your party for not doing anything for 12 years might come back later. On a different note, technically if they are paying the same rate it’s fair, because he wealthy will as a result pay more. Now 5% of 50000 takes a bigger bite than 5000000, so there is an argument there.
    I guess the next question is what is a fair share then? Federal rates? Neighboring states? Will some specific income demographic get hit harder? Biss needs to get all that down.


  25. - City Zen - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    Still mum on those graduated rates. What’s the big secret?


  26. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 3:35 pm:

    Lucky must be a holdover from the John Birch Society.


  27. - anon2 - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 3:49 pm:

    Those who want to keep the status quo on property taxes defend a regressive system. I notice that people are much quicker to attack any graduated plan than the regressive reality.


  28. - Free Set of Steak Knives - Friday, Apr 21, 17 @ 4:26 pm:

    Biss is being a bit hypocritical.

    As a freshman lawmaker in a swing district, Buss would not go near a progressive income tax. He did, however, sponsor legislation to amend Pension rights for Illinois workers.

    It wasn’t until the Democratic majority drew a safe Senate seat for him to move into that Biss “discovered” his inner Bernie.

    Now he has the gall to chide other Democrats in suburban legislative seats for refusing to vote for legislation he wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole when he was in their shoes?

    Senator, if you are reading this, and I am sure you are, an explanation would be great.


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