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Kennedy claims MJM and MRE cut off his money, is open to taxing some retirement income

Monday, Jan 29, 2018

* Bernie interviewed Chris Kennedy the other day

In a visit Friday to Springfield, Kenilworth resident Kennedy — son of the late ROBERT F. KENNEDY — told me that his family has always been Democratic but has taken on the party when needed.

His uncle, President JOHN F. KENNEDY, had to fight fellow Democrats who didn’t want a Catholic elected president in order to win that office in 1960, he said. His father in 1968 ran to take over from the Democratic administration of President LYNDON JOHNSON because RFK didn’t want more “young Americans” sent to Vietnam. And his uncle, the late Sen. TED KENNEDY, ran against President JIMMY CARTER because he thought Carter “sided with the big banks” against people hurting from high interest rates.

“I don’t think the system that we have in Illinois is representative of the values of the Democratic Party, and if I have to speak out against it, I will,” he said.

Sen. Kennedy ran against President Carter because of the banks? Learn something new every day, I guess.

* Anyway, while Kennedy proudly pointed to his ancestors’ fights against the Democratic machine, he told a woe-is-me story at a Saturday candidates’ forum

In the Democratic Party all the money really flows at the behest of the Speaker of the House and if you cross swords with him that flow of money will be cut off.

If you look at how I’ll react to that, well you can see, you can see from the history of the primary, what’s happened during this election. I spoke truth to power, I said what Mike Madigan is doing is not illegal but it should be. And that money was cut off. I was threatened by him, I was told not to speak out against him by people associated with the party. And I said ‘No, I’m gonna speak the truth, what’s happening with the property tax racket is destroying our schools, dooming the next generation to a life of economic servitude.’

I spoke out against Rahm Emanuel and what’s happening in the City of Chicago, and my donors dropped.

Tracker video clip is here.

* Meanwhile, last Friday we discussed Bob Daiber’s call to tax retirement income and Sen. Daniel Biss’ assertion that he’d be open to the tax idea under a progressive tax structure. JB Pritzker opposes the tax, but Chris Kennedy’s campaign didn’t respond.

* Well, WMAY’s Jim Leach had Kennedy on his show later that day

JIM LEACH: Another issue that’s just arisen in the last couple of days, and we’re going to be talking a lot about taxes at every level, from progressive income tax to the sales taxes I know you’ve talked about in recent days. There’s also a proposal out now to tax retirement income in the State of Illinois. Bob Daiber’s put this forward, Daniel Biss has said it might work in the context of a graduated income tax. Your thoughts on whether Illinois should tax retirement income?

KENNEDY: I mean, in a flat tax environment I, absolutely, I don’t think we should do that. I think the average retiree, pensioner in Illinois makes, I don’t know, under $20,000 a year. Do I think that’s how we should pay for our government? By taxing people who make less than $20,000 a year? Absolutely not.

LEACH: If we move to a graduated income tax at some point would that be on the table then? Retirement income?

KENNEDY: I mean, I don’t know what that looks like. I mean, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a merry Christmas, so I don’t know, what…

LEACH: But you want to move to a progressive income tax?

KENNEDY: Absolutely, absolutely.

LEACH: If we do that, under your plan…

KENNEDY: If we means tested, if we means tested, um, retirement income. If you could say OK, people who have more than $250,000 a year household income and have retirement income, could that be part of progressive income tax? I think it could.

Clip is here.

* Related…

* Hinz: What Kennedy got right about Cook County property taxes: When I’ve talked to Berrios’ staff about this, they’ve said sales often are a lousy basis for a valuation. Instead the primary factor Berrios uses is building income, a somewhat more subjective standard in my view, but one that Berrios says the courts insist upon. Problem is, some tax experts say Berrios is wrong. The preferred factor set by courts in the key cases is the last sales price, not income stream, according to Civic Federation President Laurence Msall, whose group specializes in property taxation. Local officials have the discretion to use other factors, but only if there’s a problem with the sales data, such as no recent sales, he adds. I get a similar story from Berrios predecessor Jim Houlihan, who has endorsed Kennedy but who I’ve always found to be an honorable man. Assessors use three factors: replacement costs, income and sales, he says. And, he says, it’s “b.s.” to insist, as Berrios does, that sales data ought not usually play a major role.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Norseman - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 2:22 pm:

    Chris, can we get a little cheese with that whine.

  2. - Northsider - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 2:24 pm:

    Geez. Try to go down with some dignity.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 2:24 pm:

    So… that’s why Chris Kennedy applauded Bruce Rauner, something no one but Ken Dunkin has done?

    You’re a Kennedy, find the money.

    You have a Daley, tell him to get you cash.


  4. - Whatever - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 2:27 pm:

    Everyone’s fault but his own — sad.

  5. - a drop in - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 2:29 pm:

    Let’s see: Bobby against LBJ = Nixon
    Ted against Carter = Reagan

    Hope the Kennedy family “contributions” do not continue.

  6. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 2:33 pm:

    For having such a pedigree he sure comes off as naïve about how politics works around here.

    And that phrase speaking truth to power always bugs me. More like a person speaking their version of the truth.

  7. - Millennial - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 2:43 pm:

    Kennedy’s right about a means-tested retirement tax. But, $250k tax free seems generous. I think median household income ($59,196) should be the max tax free. And illinois shouldn’t wait for a constitutional change to the flat tax to implement it.

  8. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 2:48 pm:

    At this point I’m not sure Kennedy could run a successful campaign for a school board seat, unbelievable he chaired the U of I Board for a few years.

  9. - A Jack - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 2:58 pm:

    So the Kennedys fought the machine? It is somewhat of an urban legend that JFK would not have won without Mayor Daley’s “influence” in Chicago.

  10. - Sharon - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 2:59 pm:

    Maybe much more his father’s son than we knew, even according to his uncle:

    “How would you like looking forward to that high, whining voice blasting in your ear for the next six months?” Jack Kennedy asked a friend, Paul (Red) Fay, before the 1960 campaign.

  11. - Stuff Happens - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 3:43 pm:

    We already tried a governor who whined about Madigan. If he’s controlling everything like everyone says, show me how you’re going to work with him. Complaining just foretells more of the same.

  12. - capitol view - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    I’m a retiree, and I acknowledge that I benefit from state services and programs as an Illinois resident, as does my community. Taxing retirement income at 1% is appropriate.

  13. - Retiree - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 3:48 pm:

    It really disturbs me that retirees can say that there should under no circumstance be a tax on retirement income. How can we as retirees see young low income families paying income tax when we are not? Yes, I would like to see a level of retirement income exempt from taxation–perhaps $50,000 or $75,000–certainly not $250,000. And suggestions that taxing retirement income above a certain level would result in people moving out-of-state is simply silly. Anyone who wants to move will any way–no need for an excuse. Plus taxing retirement income has nothing to do with the pension issue. It is a matter of fairness.

  14. - Broken Record - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 3:50 pm:

    “Mike Madigan and the hundreds of Kennedy clan members he controls.”

    Chris, Bruce Rauner called, and he wants his talking points back.

  15. - Anon0091 - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 3:51 pm:

    Chris, if you want to know who cut off your money, head to the bathroom and look in the mirror. The guy with the blank look staring back at you is the guilty party.

  16. - Arsenal - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 3:55 pm:

    I dunno, I can believe MJM was telling people not to send Kennedy money. At this point, it’s just good investment advice.

  17. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 3:57 pm:

    –Sen. Kennedy ran against President Carter because of the banks?–

    That’s absolute gibberish. I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean.

    Volcker purposely threw the economy into recession to try and knock down inflation after the oil shock caused by OPEC and American oil companies acting in concert as a monopoly to artificially jack up the price exponentially.

    And the idea that JFK/RFK were Vietnam doves is revisionism up there with the War of Northern Aggression. They have plenty of blood on their hands, from subsistence rice farm families to poor American kids who couldn’t dodge the draft as good as some.

  18. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 4:00 pm:

    Here’s an idea, tax retirement income but exempt the first $50,000 or some other appropriate amount. Everybody can’t pander to the “Bernie voters”, can they?

  19. - What? - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    - a drop in - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 2:29 pm:

    Let’s see: Bobby against LBJ = Nixon
    Ted against Carter = Reagan

    Hope the Kennedy family “contributions” do not continue.
    Pretty sure Robert Kennedy being assassinated in cold blood is a substantial factor leading to Nixon that you neglected to mention.

  20. - Shytown - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 4:14 pm:

    I feel like I’m piling on at this point, but come on Chris! Pull it together man or exit the race. Stop blaming, literally, everyone else for a mostly flailing campaign. And if the speaker of the mayor took your lunch money, then go pry it back out of their hands.

  21. - A Jack - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 5:22 pm:

    RFK didn’t run until LBJ dropped out.

  22. - West Wing - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 5:25 pm:

    RFK announced in mid March and two weeks later LBJ announced that he would not seek the Democratic nomination.

  23. - A Jack - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 6:30 pm:

    LBJ dropped out because of Eugene McCarthy’s strong showing in New Hampshire. Eugene McCarthy was the original anti-war candidate. RFK originally supported LBJ, but renounced his support and decided to run.

    So my point is that Chris Kennedy’s story about RFK taking on LBJ and the “machine” is somewhat revisionist.

  24. - A Jack - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 6:37 pm:

    It is also interesting to note that a Kennedy family member has not won a primary in Illinois since 1960.

  25. - Andy S. - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 7:18 pm:

    While it is true that many decades ago old people were worse off financially, I am pretty sure that is no longer the case. I don’t see why, from a fairness perspective, retirement income that results from pre-tax contributions (and has not been previously taxed) should not be taxed at the same rate as wage income, as should things like carried interest, capital gains, dividends, etc. For me, the irony of it all is because I moved from Illinois to Virginia, I am already paying a 5.75% state income tax on my SURS pension. Not everyone that moves out of state does so to lower their tax liability - most people move for job opportunities. My overall taxes certainly did not go down when I moved here.

  26. - SweetLou86 - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 1:00 am:

    ::In the Democratic Party all the money really flows at the behest of the Speaker of the House and if you cross swords with him that flow of money will be cut off.::

    Daniel Biss and his donors must not have gotten the same memo cause he’s had no problem raising millions of dollars

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