By Hannah Meisel
* Lightly edited text exchange between Rich and myself…
Him: Um, why haven’t you done a blog post about your new Chicago Mag piece?
Me: That’s self-promotional!
Him: Do it.
* So here we are. Earlier this week Chicago Magazine published a story I wrote about the revenue ideas too politically difficult to even mention in Illinois these days: taxing retirement income and expanding the state’s sales tax to certain services. A big thank you to editor Whet Moser for making it happen. Here it is…
As Illinois lawmakers stare down their final weeks in Springfield, the state is staring down its own fiscal realities: $6.5 billion in unpaid bills, a $130 billion pension shortfall, and credit ratings still barely teetering above junk-bond status despite an income-tax hike last summer. That makes it an anomaly within the Midwest, a state that can never seem to manage its money while surrounding ones thrive. But its tax system is also strikingly different than theirs, a fact members of both parties have long bemoaned but not changed.
J.B. Pritzker’s campaign is the latest to propose aligning the state’s revenues with that of its neighbors, and it would be a considerable shift. After years of non-serious discussion of the issue, he’s pushing to change the state’s constitution to permit a graduated income tax instead of the mandated flat tax. If that happens, it would bring Illinois closer to the tax structures of surrounding states.
But there are two other types of taxes employed by our neighbors—ones brought up again and again—that still seem too poisonous to consider.
If you feel so inclined, you can read the whole thing here.
[Note from Rich Miller: I’m often asked by reporters to post their stories because y’all can really drive up their numbers in a big way. So, please, click the link and read Hannah’s story before commenting below. Thanks.]