See you later, calculator
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
By Hannah Meisel
* Republicans in the House had a small gift on their desks this morning, courtesy of Rep. Rob Martwick (D-Chicago). Martwick bought his GOP colleagues calculators (from his own pocket) to send the message that a progressive income tax is a simple math problem.
From the letter…
* The gift…
* As Rich reported in Crain’s Chicago Business earlier this month, Rep. Martwick asked COGFA to do a study for him asking the question: how high would Illinois’ taxes need to go in order to keep up with the growth of pension debt? COGFA answered that Illinois will run a cumulative $224 billion deficit under our current flat tax structure, and that the state would need to enact a 6.45 percent flat tax on January 1 in order to combat this projected deficit.
Almost all the GOP House members received the calculators and the letter, minus the members who voted with Democrats to override Gov. Rauner’s veto on the budget package last summer, which included a tax hike from 3.75 percent to the current 4.95 percent.
“They acknowledged the fact that 3.75 percent was bankrupting the state,” Martwick told me.
“If the necessary tax to balance the budget over the course of the next 27 years is 6.45 percent, then that’s actually what the tax is,” Martwick said. “We might only be collecting 4.95 percent, but we are assessing a tax of 6.45. The difference is the last point and a half is being put on a credit card that they get to pay later with a lot of interest and I think that is so fiscally irresponsible for us to put that on the backs of the taxpayer under the guise that we’re giving them low taxes. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re giving them the worst kind of taxes: We’re hiding a high tax in a low tax and making them pay a much higher amount later.”
* Martwick said he’s received a little bit of feedback, including from Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield), who noted the plus button on the calculator was bigger than the minus button.
Why calculators and not abacuses?
“We’ll start with the basics,” he told me. “Didn’t want to make it too complicated.”