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Pritzker attacks Rauner property tax freeze as “political stunt,” outlines his own idea

Sunday, May 28, 2017

[Bumped up to Sunday for visibility.]

* From JB Pritzker…

Governor Rauner’s property tax freeze is just a political stunt. Since day one, Governor Rauner’s strategy has been to starve social service agencies and local governments to force the crisis we now suffer from. His cynical approach has often led to the increases in property taxes he claims he wants to freeze. Governor Rauner should stop playing politics and offering gimmicks and start doing the job he was elected to do, including putting Illinois on a path to fiscal responsibility and the state providing additional support for education funding.

* As you’ll recall, an Oak Park newspaper reported this the other day

Pritzker said that he opposed a property tax freeze, a favorite Rauner talking point, saying local communities should make that decision.

Pritzker has since been slammed repeatedly by the ILGOP and the Chicago Tribune editorial page.

* Now, here’s the transcript of what was asked and what Pritzker said…

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Bruce Rauner was downstate earlier this week saying the two greatest problems for small business are property tax and workers comp. And I know you’ve done work on this. Could you just tell us what you think about that claim?

PRITZKER: The two biggest problems in the state are property tax and workman’s comp? Okay, lets talk about that. Property taxes are a pretty big issue, but it’s an issue for a different reason than he says it’s an issue. He polled a property tax freeze. And it polls really well, because nobody wants to pay higher property taxes. And so that polls really well, and that’s why you see his commercials, it’s one of the first things he lists of things that he wants to do.

Look, nobody wants higher property taxes, but we can’t hamstring all of our local governments that way.

Here’s what I want to do. If you raise revenue at the state level and pay for education at the state level – constitutionally mandated at 50%, we’re only providing 26% — if you raise revenue at the state level and do it on a progressive basis, local governments will have choices, you all will have choices about whether you want to lower your property tax revenue for your city.

If you want a property tax break, you should go get that. He’s not advocating anything like that, by the way. And so, the best he can do is say property tax freeze, and then he throws the problem at you, at the local level to figure out what you’re going to do if you need a property tax increase, or you need more revenue. He’s not creating any jobs, so we’re not creating any more revenue around – 0.5 percent job growth last year, which is in the bottom third of states. So that’s the property tax issue.”

This is also nicely timed ahead of Chris Kennedy’s expected property tax/school funding announcement on Tuesday.

* Audio

[I put this up really late in the day and I’m about to close comments. You can still comment below, but they won’t be visible to anyone. However, I’ll “release” them from moderation on Sunday.]

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments
  1. - RNUG - Friday, May 26, 17 @ 4:35 pm:

    Nice. He pitched a progressive income tax, doubling school funding, and cutting local property taxes all in be sound bite. Not exactly the Netsch tax swap, but close.

    If he added an automatic reset of the local school property tax, it could be a really good plan. And it sounds like he will do his best to actually sell it … something a leader would do.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 26, 17 @ 4:39 pm:

    Pritzker finally gets a bit ahead of Rauner, but out ahead of Kennedy.

    Not bad…


  3. - pskila - Friday, May 26, 17 @ 4:44 pm:

    somebody finally mentioned progressive tax…aren’t we one of the very few states that don’t have one?


  4. - Arsenal - Friday, May 26, 17 @ 4:55 pm:

    Not sure how well it’ll be politically- “when you’re explaining, you’re losing”- but he’s right on how it would all work in practice.


  5. - JS Mill - Friday, May 26, 17 @ 6:42 pm:

    What Pritzker suggests is factually achievable, reducing property taxes is achievable. It requires:

    1. Additional state revenue.

    2. responsible local government decisions

    3. state spending restraint when new revenue comes in.

    4. State mandate restraint when new revenue is available.

    5. citizens holding their state and local government accountable.

    The first step has to be revenue. Everything else is doable then, #5 is the one that really makes it happen and I am least convinced will happen.


  6. - atsuishin - Friday, May 26, 17 @ 9:34 pm:

    At its earliest, a “progressive” income tax could start in 2021.

    Would all the high minded tax and spend folks on this blog explain to me how this would solve illinois current budget problems?


  7. - Oswego Willy - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 11:00 am:

    - atsuishin -

    It doesn’t. Like term limits don’t solve the revenue problem.

    The Civic Committee addresses what’s needed today, however, in a campaign, it’s also about looking forward.

    A sitting governor can also look forward, but that governor can’t let alleged forward thinking be packaged as the answer for today.

    We need answers today. Once we give up on today, rightly or wrongly, we look to tomorrow for answers. Illinois needs “today” answers, and also have an eye to tomorrow.

    It’s the selling of tommorrow’s answers to today’s solutions… that’s the misleading.


  8. - cdog - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    Pritzker says about Rauner, “then he throws the problem at you, at the local level to figure out what you’re going to do if you need a property tax increase, or you need more revenue.”

    What? Huh? That sounds wonderful to me, and very American. No Tea Party needed; we’re in charge.

    Locals should always have the last say on any increase in a tax levy. Pritzker obviously favors politicians over citizens and the people writing the checks.

    Pritzker also says, “He’s not creating any jobs, so we’re not creating any more revenue around…” I think a good economy, and more jobs, is created by folks willing to take a risk on our state.

    Truth is, right now, Illinois is a pretty risky state. Between Rauner recently, and Madigan for eternity, (Rahm too), the Blue State Mecca is a very long distance down a dark insolvent alley.


  9. - Rich Miller - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    ===Locals should always have the last say on any increase in a tax levy===

    So, then you oppose a freeze imposed from on-high?


  10. - cdog - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    I am in favor of a freeze from “on-high,” with the caveat of voter approval to increase.

    (I don’t even understand why a taxing body would need an increase. Inflation is nearly non-existent and if anything deflationary pressures have caused more concern from what I read. A town near me has a democrat mayor that is on a spending spree; its just crazy. If there is a good reason to need more money, rational people will approve it.)


  11. - Here we go again... - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 12:02 pm:

    I’m impressed with Pritzker’s message and ideas here. Kudos to whoever is presenting this to him.


  12. - Ducky LaMoore - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    Pun intended, it looks like Pritzker is trying to eat everybody’s lunch.


  13. - Hamlet's Ghost - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 12:10 pm:

    @clog

    PTELL already caps levy increases to the CPI - the governor’s proposal would require a referendum to keep pace with inflation.


  14. - cdog - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 12:45 pm:

    Not familiar with PTELL, but a referendum should still be required to keep pace with inflation. Should be an easy sell for the levy body, if truly needed.

    Something is horribly wrong with Illinois property taxes and Pritzker isn’t saying anything that will help.

    From what Pritzker says, I guess he wants to raise income taxes, YEARS FROM NOW WITH CONST CHANGE, to bring state up to 50% educ funding level and then we are on our own to hope our school levies go down. That’s lovely.

    Not impressed, and really a weak pile of talk.

    Is he for consolidation? Does he think 7000 little baby governments in the state is pioneering? Heaven help us.


  15. - Grandson of Man - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 1:10 pm:

    This is a great campaign issue, but it won’t help now. However, since we’re already in campaign season, and in fact never left it since Rauner became governor, it’s great to begin drawing distinctions.

    Rauner and Griffin poured a hundred million dollars or more into into state politics in the last few years. Rauner wants to extract harsh concessions from millions of workers, over the long run. These workers basically live paycheck to paycheck. We’re supposed to make major fixes on these workers’ backs while Rauner and Griffin pour in many millions of dollars in politics, without blinking an eye, and pay a very low state income tax? That’s just wrong.


  16. - Ducky LaMoore - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 1:52 pm:

    ===Does he think 7000 little baby governments in the state is pioneering?===

    Yeah it really is a shame that we can’t be ruled by one large leviathan government. Guess what? When your township is in charge of its own roads, they are better maintained. When a rural library district is in charge of its own library, outsiders can’t close down your library. Same thing with school districts, community colleges, cities and villages, water districts etc. Why do you feel the need to support a large, heavy-handed government shutting down citizen-run small governments?


  17. - Anonymous - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    cdog,

    You have a funny way of reading. He favors local control instead of a one size fits all approach from Springfield. How you turn that into him opposing consolidation is beyond me.


  18. - Arsenal - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 2:59 pm:

    ==Does he think 7000 little baby governments in the state is pioneering?==

    At this point, I have to ask what *you* think, ’cause you’re all over the place on local control. It’s good, but the state should be able to impose a freeze, but voters should get to override it, but a lot of small units of government is bad…


  19. - Arthur Andersen - Sunday, May 28, 17 @ 3:59 pm:

    I’m not anti-saving tax money, I’m pro-good public services.

    From reading my own property tax bill in Springfield a Property Tax Freeze would primarily impact employer payments into the Police and Fire Pension Funds, about the last thing that needs to be constrained.

    So yeah, I do oppose a freeze imposed from on-high. I also suppose any freeze that doesn’t eliminate or completely do-over TIF districts. Why did the FBI get a TIF to build the Police Palace on the south side?


  20. - Rabid - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 7:15 am:

    I know how much Rauner wants local control, his example is Lincolnshire


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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