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Poll: 76 percent support a 3 percent surtax on millionaires

Friday, Mar 9, 2018

* Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll

There are some areas in which a majority of voters would support increased revenue, starting with the so-called “millionaire’s tax,” which would impose an extra 3 percent levy on income over $1 million, favored by three-quarters [76 percent, 21 oppose, with 57 percent strongly in favor] of respondents in the sample. Nearly as many [72 percent in favor, 24 percent oppose, with 47 percent strongly in favor] would favor a constitutional amendment to allow a graduated income tax, with higher rates for higher earners and lower rates for lower earners.

A slight plurality (49 percent favor, 46 percent oppose) would favor legalized gambling in Illinois to raise state revenues [23 percent strongly favor and 28 percent strongly oppose].

Less popular were a sales tax on services [39 percent favor, 58 percent oppose, with 36 percent strongly opposed] and a tax on gasoline to fund highway, road, and bridge improvements [42 percent favor, 57 percent oppose, with 41 percent strongly opposed).

A recurring idea is for the state to tax retirement income, such as pensions and social security. This idea is widely unpopular, with 74 percent opposing and only 22 percent in favor. However, in a follow-up question in which only retirement income above $100,000 would be taxed, majorities are in favor. Combining the 22 percent who favored it in the first question with the 52 percent of the 745 initial opponents who would favor it with the exemption, 60 percent of the total sample favor taxing retirement income above $100,000.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

67 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 9:38 am:

    Lets lower property taxes, buisness taxes and peoples income tax. raise income taxes on rich though


  2. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 9:39 am:

    I agree raise taxes for everyone but me. And do not legalize gambling in this state it will lead to state run lotteries. Slot machines in bars and restaurants and casinos


  3. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 9:43 am:

    This is important to see. We are at critical fiscal crossroads, if I may be trite. We can either go the Rauner/IPI/Koch brothers union-busting right-wing way and slash labor rights and government employees’ standards of living, or we can raise the income tax on millionaires (as a way to avoid the harshest cuts), which is very strongly supported.


  4. - SSL - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 9:48 am:

    This kind of talk will make the rating agencies happy. Clearly people understand that there will need to be increased revenues to address the pension obligations, and just as clearly, they prefer it to be somebody other then themselves who pay more. Shocking.

    Fear not, there will be enough pain to go around, as the size of the problem can’t be solved by those making over a million per year. Everybody has their own definition of what wealthy is, but for this exercise, it is going to need to be very low.

    Will this increase the exodus of people from Illinois? Who knows, but it sure isn’t going to help.

    It’s easy to say that Illinois needs to raise income taxes, but when you look at the overall tax burden in this state, which includes some of the highest property and sales taxes in the country, the natives get restless. There was a revolt over a soda tax.


  5. - Jocko - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 9:51 am:

    Since the ILGOP has refuses to entertain discussion of a progressive income tax, we’re left with this reductionist “us vs. them” solution to a complex problem.


  6. - Not It - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 9:55 am:

    Raising taxes on someone else always polls well.


  7. - JB13 - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 9:56 am:

    Also magic beans: Tax millionaires and we’ll have all the money we need.

    Listing the bridge for sale, as we speak.


  8. - 44th - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 9:57 am:

    Real smart, drive the remaining few to Florida even faster.


  9. - titan - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:22 am:

    Very high income people (other than athletes) are tricky to tax. They generally don’t get a regular weekly or monthly paycheck. A big part is often capital gains (the taking and timing of which can be manipulated).


  10. - Stand Tall - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:31 am:

    Wasn’t this on the ballot not long ago to get more Democrats to the polls?
    Democrats owned the State not long ago and gave only lip service for progressive tax and increase in minimum wage, lot of talk.


  11. - RNUG - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:33 am:

    Tax someone else always polls well.

    But, as has been discussed here, what really needs to be done is broaden the tax base by taxing more of the service industry.


  12. - Robert the 1st - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:33 am:

    Stand Tall- the Democrats will likely own the entire IL government again soon. I can’t wait to see what wonderful policies they implement. We might finally have a worker’s paradise.


  13. - NorthsideNoMore - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:35 am:

    So the surtax charge goes on to people who already have ways to avoid paying taxes that most of us dont enjoy or can afford? Got it. Like guys who have the toliet taken out of their $5 million dollar mansion to get a prop tax reduction (hypothetically). Business growth and Job growth is the only way to increase the size of the teet the state needs to satisfy its insatialble need to spend and tax.


  14. - Cocoa Dave - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:36 am:

    It’s really about time we address a millionaire tax and imposing a tax at some level on pension income. The state police has become a training agency for command personnel to pad their resume on the state tax payers dime. Retire with a 6 figure pension and go right back to work in another high level local government job. A few that come to mind, Grafton PD, Metropolis PD, Lemont PD, Loyola University PD, Lockport PD, Metra PD, Schaumburg PD, Niles PD, Broadview PD, Elgin Community College PD, Chicago HIDTA and the list goes on and on. This is just one small example of governmental double dipping and they can surely afford to pay tax on their retirement income.


  15. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:38 am:

    Without thinking all of it through, it is interesting that the wealthiest people make legislation for us and lecture about helping pay for education, social programs……in general, paying for the functioning of our government.

    But those who have the ability to “help” the most find every which way avaiable not to!

    It’s not difficult to see why hard working people resent wealthy cheapskates.


  16. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:39 am:

    Amend the rule to prohibit double dipping.


  17. - AnEmployer... - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:43 am:

    Of course we should raise taxes on millionaires, since we don’t have to pay it. Let’s also put a wall around the Illinois border so no one can leave till we have all their money. :-)


  18. - supplied_demand - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:45 am:

    Plan to solve budget:

    - New income brackets (use fill existing budget gap): 3.5% ($0-$50k) - 5% ($50k-$250k) - 6.5% (> $250k)

    - New retirement income tax (direct all money to pensions): 0% ($0-$50k) - 2% ($50k+)

    - Legalize marijuana (direct money to education funding 75% and drug/prison programs 25%): $600-$750 million

    - Lower property taxes

    - Consolidate taxing bodies

    - Higher education reorganization (close a campus, streamline course offerings, etc.)


  19. - sloman - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:48 am:

    Taxing retirement income is a bad idea. From a retiree perspective, Illinois has one thing going for it, NOT taxing retirement income. Many will leave an already dwindling state. As far as people double dipping, the fix is to stop the double dipping, not tax them because they can afford it. Good grief….


  20. - Robert the 1st - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:50 am:

    The hypocrisy here, as usual, is stunning. We can tax millionaires to death and they’ll stay. But if we tax pensions then there will be an exodus?


  21. - 44th - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 10:52 am:

    now there is a border wall all of Illinois can support :-) :
    Of course we should raise taxes on millionaires, since we don’t have to pay it. Let’s also put a wall around the Illinois border so no one can leave till we have all their money. :-)


  22. - cannon649 - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:07 am:

    Again who did they Poll?

    Students? Progressive Libs,

    High Net Worth folks can easily find “ways” around the law -

    A 3% surcharge will not solve the problem - another “Kick the Can” idea


  23. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:07 am:

    Lol, of course they do.


  24. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:08 am:

    GOM, personally I think we should obliterate public employee unions AND have a progressive income tax.


  25. - City Zen - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:10 am:

    ==an extra 3 percent levy on income over $1 million, favored by three-quarters==

    The poll says “extra” but never defined the baseline. Make the baseline 4%. You’ll get 99% in favor of a millionaire’s tax.


  26. - City Zen - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:11 am:

    == I think we should obliterate public employee unions AND have a progressive income tax.==

    How about progressive union dues?


  27. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:13 am:

    Make it simple, 3.5%, 4.5% and 5.5%.


  28. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 11:14 am:

    A targeted 3% to over $1MM is the dumbest thing in the world.


  29. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 12:17 pm:

    Can anyone explain why Illinois with a cost of living at the national average has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation? It’s not like our government provides anything better than other state governments. It’s the opposite, we seem to pay a lot for very little.


  30. - anon2 - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 12:31 pm:

    Nearly three in four residents agree with FDR:
    “Taxes should be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle.”


  31. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 12:42 pm:

    Anon2, FDR also opposed the unionization of public workers. He was one of the nation’s best and brightest Presidents.


  32. - City Zen - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 12:58 pm:

    ==Taxes should be levied according to ability to pay.==

    He forgot to forward that message to Illinois retirees.


  33. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:01 pm:

    A potent revenue combo would be robust progressive taxation with marijuana legalization. If a millionaire surcharge is the only palatable option of progressive taxation for voters, then fine, go for that.

    What I would like to see is progressive taxation sold as a tax cut for lots of people—lowering their state rates and property taxes. There can be state rates proposed for many that are lower than the current income tax rate.

    Good politics is taking an opponent’s supposed strengths away from her or him. Rauner doesn’t have to be the only reformer. Sell progressive taxation and marijuana legalization as reform, to lower property taxes and state rates for many people.


  34. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:03 pm:

    FDR also originally opposed VA benefits. Thought people that served should do so out of duty and not benefit from their service
    FDR was lots of things and not all of them saintly


  35. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:04 pm:

    Millionaires move very easily. Very bad idea. A simple 3.5%, 4.5% and 5.5% progressive income tax should do.


  36. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:05 pm:

    Thanks DuPage, didn’t know that. I’m liking FDR more than I knew.


  37. - anon2 - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:23 pm:

    === millionaires move very easily ==

    Still lots of millionaires in California, despite the steeply graduated income tax that tops out at 13.3%.


  38. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:33 pm:

    Last I checked, California and Illinois have virtually nothing in common. One has beautiful topography, ocean coastline and perfect weather. Illinois, not so much.


  39. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:33 pm:

    anon2 has classic head in the sand syndrome.


  40. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:34 pm:

    If you leave out the states with no income taxes, Illinois tax is 3rd lowest behind Indiana and Pennsylvania. Lots of millionaires living in states that tax them far more than ILlinois. Why do they live there if taxation is so high for them?


  41. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:37 pm:

    A lot less than Illinois, by huge margins.


  42. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:37 pm:

    Pull your head out of the dirt.


  43. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:38 pm:

    Other than NY, which has NYC, the greatest wealth creator on earth.


  44. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:39 pm:

    And you are of course ignoring that Illinois already has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. Right now.


  45. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:40 pm:

    Best solution (although not legal)

    Tie the graduated income tax with reductions in pensions and put it on the ballot. Watch them pucker.


  46. - City Zen - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:48 pm:

    ==What I would like to see is progressive taxation sold as a tax cut for lots of people—lowering their state rates and property taxes.==

    So what’s your break even salary level (single and married) at which people would pay more or less under your ideal progressive tax plan?


  47. - Cupcake - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:49 pm:

    Ron why don’t you just move already


  48. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:55 pm:

    Cupcake, I love Chicago and have great friends and family here. I am a good, hard working taxpayer. So is my wife. Our kids are happy. Why wouldn’t I try to make illinois a better place for everyone and not just the kleptocracy? Why would you want more hard working taxpayers to flee?

    At a certain point it may become too much but right now we’re staying and fighting for fairness.


  49. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 1:56 pm:

    Anonymous, I’m all for that and have been advocatimg for that for a long time.


  50. - Cupcake - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 2:00 pm:

    Seems like you’d be much happier if you didn’t have to spend so much time worrying and stressing over state employees. Pensions. Property taxes. Etc
    Life is short


  51. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 2:00 pm:

    According to this report of a study, millionaires’ outmigration from high tax states is less than the rest of the population.

    https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/84921126

    We can really use the money to use toward paying down our pension debt. It should be a good idea to consider this type of revenue increase with pension debt reamortization, to make us more fiscally responsible and bring more stability and reliability.


  52. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 2:06 pm:

    Nope, again, I love Chicago. Best City for me and my family. If the City imploded I would be leave instantly though.


  53. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 2:07 pm:

    GOM: refer to my CA to IL comparison.

    NYC is the greatest wealth creator on earth. So rich people live near it.


  54. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 2:07 pm:

    Illinois is losing people faster than any state but West Virginia, right now


  55. - RNUG - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 2:10 pm:

    == Tie the graduated income tax with reductions in pensions and put it on the ballot. Watch them pucker. ==

    And you better make the two clauses severable, because the IL SC will shoot down any diminishment to existing retirees and employees.


  56. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 2:22 pm:

    I just now noticed the strong popularity for a progressive income tax in this poll, beside the millionaire surcharge. My bad. That’s awesome. It should be seized upon by Democrats and Republicans in lower-income districts. It’s a great idea, to raise taxes on the wealthiest and cut them for those with lower incomes. Make a plan and sell it that way.


  57. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 2:35 pm:

    =If you leave out the states with no income taxes, Illinois tax is 3rd lowest behind Indiana and Pennsylvania.=
    You forgot about Arizona, Colorado,Michigan,North Dakota and New Mexico.


  58. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 2:49 pm:

    Again, California and Illinois have virtually nothing in common. One has beautiful topography, ocean coastline and perfect weather. Illinois, not so much.


  59. - SSL - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 2:52 pm:

    Only a fool would believe that there will be any reduction in income tax rates for lower income residents. The size of the Illinois pension obligations can not be serviced by lowering anyone’s taxes. A progressive income tax would start with the current rate and go up from there. While I don’t know the impact of a tax increase on the rate of people leaving the state, you can be sure it would be higher if you raise some people’s taxes while lowering others.

    Sorry, but the scope of the problem is too great to consider cutting taxes anywhere.


  60. - Ed Higher - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 2:53 pm:

    Is there enough support for a graduated income tax to justify a constitutional convention?


  61. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 3:06 pm:

    We need to get as many people out of the Tier 1 pension system as possible as soon as possible.


  62. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 3:07 pm:

    Ed Higher, I’m all for it and while we’re at it, let’s eliminate pension and benefit protection. That is killing Illinois.


  63. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 3:20 pm:

    Ron. You are too funny.


  64. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 3:31 pm:

    ===We need to get as many people out of the Tier 1 pension system as possible as soon as possible.===
    There is a way to do this, but not without violating one of Commandments 6 or 8.


  65. - Ron - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    Though shall not lay off is a commandment?


  66. - Christopher - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 4:10 pm:

    Six Degrees of Separation, couldn’t they offer the employees an early buyout?


  67. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 4:29 pm:

    Lay off all tier 1 employees ?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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