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Pritzker mocks reporters who bemoan lack of substance, but his biggest idea is barely a shell

Thursday, Aug 9, 2018

* JB Pritzker speaking to supporters last night

There’s a lot that we need to do. And I’ve put forward plans, I almost get tired when people come up here, reporters, sometimes, come up to me and they say ‘Well gosh, what are your plans for the state? I don’t really know what your plans are.’

Well gee, every day I stand up to talk about what I want to do for the state, my vision for… I talk about the things that I care about deeply, and when I’m not able to get to a subject I always say to people ‘go to my website’ because we’ve got 18 plans. I don’t want you to think I’m overplanning, but we’ve got a lot to do in this state, you know, and I don’t want to be unclear about what direction that we need to go, and so, people should go there.

But I’m always surprised when a reporter comes up to me and says ‘What’s the substance? Tell us the substance of your campaign,’ and I say ‘Gosh, I’ll give you a three-hour speech if you’d like right now or you can just go to my website and read about everything that we’ve been talking about for the last year and a half.’

Pritzker does have a point that some reporters who complain about a lack of substance don’t actually cover the substantive things he’s proposed. And he does have a very long list of proposals that he developed during the primary. Click here to see them. His campaign put a lot of time and effort into crafting them.

* But, as many Illinoisans have discovered since January of 2015, the state budget is by far the most important part of the governor’s job. And while Pritzker’s proposals include several spending ideas, he’s never said how he’ll pay for any of this stuff except to repeatedly point to a progressive tax plan which isn’t really a plan so much as a talking point. The Democrat has yet to lay out what his rates and exemptions would be.

The only thing we know is that he’s said he’ll fund most of his new programs and expansions as well as significantly increase the state’s annual pension payment with the new graduated tax, so it’ll definitely have to bring in a lot of money. How much? Nobody knows yet.

Politics abhors a vacuum, and the governor is therefore taking advantage of Pritzker’s silence. Let’s return to today’s WJPF interview with Tom Miller

Tom Miller: When you look and see what his progressive tax plan is I cannot find any names, numbers, figures.

Rauner: You know, the Democrats made a mistake. They’re trying to hide what they’re going to do to the middle class, working class families. They’re trying to hide it so Pritzker is trying to dodge what the rates would be. But they actually put out their tax plan a year ago mistakenly and it’s out there. It was put out by Madigan’s own people and it has a 26 percent tax rate hike on middle class Illinoisans. That’s their plan. They’re going to deny it and say ‘oh, no no we will only tax like multi-millionaires.’ Baloney. Every state that’s put in a graduated income tax, the middle class gets whacked. And that’s what Pritzker and Madigan have in mind. They’re going to dodge, but that’s the truth. We’ve got to beat these guys. They’re corrupt and they’re just tax cheats and tax hikers.

Tom Miller: The last piece of legislation I could find on the Illinois.gov web site that tracks all the legislation and the verbage that progressive taxes would start at $17,000 a year annually. That was the last one I saw. Because when you told me a moment ago, they all say no no no no no. The last plan started at $17,000 a year.

Rauner: That’s right. Anybody who makes more than $17,000 a year pays more under the Pritzker-Madigan tax hike plan. That’s exactly what they got in mind.

Miller (no relation that I know of) and Rauner were both talking about Rep. Rob Martwick’s bill, which would also provide property and sales tax relief. Nobody ever agreed to be a co-sponsor and Martwick got so much heat for his proposal that he tabled it in April.

But that’s what you get when you go mum on your most important issue.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

33 Comments
  1. - Council Wars - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:03 pm:

    I was always told that the Illinois Constitution needs to be amended from its flat tax mandate to allow for progressive tax rates.

    Would Martwick’s proposal be constitutional?


  2. - Flat Bed Ford - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:08 pm:

    Pritzker is an empty suit. A very large empty suit that Madigan wants to wear only because it has deep pockets. MJM is gonna have to cinch that belt up around his shoulders.


  3. - Ole General - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:09 pm:

    This race is starting to mirror 2010 in some ways. A beleaguered and unpopular incumbent facing a provincial candidate that lacks substance.

    I know Prtizker is +9, I know the state voted +16 for Clinton, I know it’s a good year electorally for D’s. But I cannot shake the feeling that we could be looking at a wasted opportunity. I’m probably wrong; I normally am.

    But 2010 Brady keeps flashing before my eyes.


  4. - jim - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:14 pm:

    Go to my web site — what a compelling answer.
    nothing there but a lot of boilerplate baloney.


  5. - Amalia - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:14 pm:

    Pritzker, take a step back, do some homework, and go get this. I still believe that you could blow this opportunity if you don’t get serious. People are not disposed to like you. You are arrogant in person, and your proposals have been lightweight. Do something or we will be stuck with Rauner.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:15 pm:

    Unforced errors by the Pritzker Crew

    Rauner talks about raisin’ taxes and “be careful”, and yet it was Rauner himself that signed his sole budget with a 32% tax increase, that proved to be needed, required, and warranted.

    “Bruce Rauner is hiding the fact it was the 32% tax increase that balanced his lone signed budget. Governors that fail to understand math fail at governing too.”

    I know, I know, go easy. Why make Bruce have to answer for his signature. Let Bruce define the tax issue the way he wants.

    My bad.


  7. - Texas Red - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:16 pm:

    In order to campaign as a moderate JB will have to go lite on the details of the tax increase.


  8. - Deadbeat Conservative - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:17 pm:

    Voters, especially IL voters, have a history of punishing honesty, transparency, and responsible budgeting. Anyone who’s ever been open honest about a state budget and taxes gets defeated. See Dawn Clark-Netsche, Dan Hynes, and even Quinn when he was honest about raising taxes to pay old bills - may have cost him the election.
    It’s remarkable that JB is criticized in light of the extremely low standard Bruce Rauner has been “held to”.
    Corporate press and media are showing their loyalty via the disparate treatment of JB & BVR.


  9. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:19 pm:

    For me it’s past time for Pritzker to get to the substance of his progressive income tax proposal. The voters strongly support a progressive income tax and millionaire surcharge. It’s an advantage right off the bat. Take advantage of it. Put it out there. Plant that flag and fight Rauner from there. Use the opportunity to “atone” for the toilets and say it’s about time that the super-rich like us pay a higher tax. It’s a double advantage of mitigating Rauner’s attacks and promoting a popular policy. Point to Minnesota and our neighboring states with a progressive income tax. Point to the damage Rauner caused because he is against people like him paying more. There’s a lot of good political stuff there.


  10. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:20 pm:

    Plans and proposals are great the question is how do you get to the promised land? Graduated income tax? How does he get it through the legislative process? How does he get it approved by voters? How does he propose to fund state till it passes and what if it does not pass? Tell us what you can and will do now you Nader existing law and legislative make up.
    Meanwhile I plan on winning lottery


  11. - Perrid - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:27 pm:

    I agree JB should put his marker down somewhere, and take the inevitable hits, but this, “They’re trying to hide what they’re going to do to the middle class, working class families” is just so over the top it makes me mad.


  12. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:28 pm:

    ==Every state that’s put in a graduated income tax, the middle class gets whacked.==

    Arizona:

    2.59% on the first $10,163 of taxable income
    2.88% between $10,164 and $25,406
    3.36% between $25,407 and $50,812
    4.24% between $50,813 and $152,434
    4.54% $152,435 and above

    Arizona’s middle class isn’t getting whacked. Let’s go progressive, Arizona-style.


  13. - Louis G Atsaves - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:42 pm:

    The voters strongly support a progressive tax and taxing millionaires?

    Voters support someone other than themselves paying taxes.

    JB’s empty fill in the blank easy peasey tax pan tanks right up there with:

    Once the tollway pays its bonds, the tolls will be eliminated,

    All lottery proceeds will fully fund education in Illinois,

    That tax is only temporary,

    We can borrow more money at lower rates to pay off prior money owed,

    The State can never go bankrupt so spend, spend, spend.

    The State never spends money, it just invests in the future of ( fill in the blank )


  14. - Texas Red - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:56 pm:

    “I was always told that the Illinois Constitution needs to be amended from its flat tax mandate to allow for progressive tax”

    Dems could get creative by raising the state income tax rate from the current 4.95% to “X”% and then raise the EITC to a higher rate than the current 18% of fed, and or extend the credit to folks without dependent children. You get a work around that is effectively a graduated income tax without all the fuss of going directly to the voters.


  15. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 12:58 pm:

    ==The voters strongly support a progressive tax and taxing millionaires? Voters support someone other than themselves paying taxes.==

    Around 55% of state tax returns filed show income below $50,000. 70% are under $75,000. In Illinois, it doesn’t take much to have “strong support” for someone else to pay more.


  16. - Responsa - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 1:00 pm:

    ==It’s remarkable that JB is criticized in light of the extremely low standard Bruce Rauner has been “held to”.==

    What is being pointed out in multiple ways in this post is that it’s questionable whether Pritzker is closing the deal that he’d be better than Rauner, and why, and how he would go about it.


  17. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 1:24 pm:

    “The voters strongly support a progressive tax and taxing millionaires?”

    Yes, per the 2014 ballot question and as reported here on Capitol Fax earlier this year.

    https://capitolfax.com/2018/03/09/poll-76-percent-support-a-3-percent-surtax-on-millionaires/

    Rauner wants to rip savings out of those who can far less afford it, government workers and those who get paid the prevailing wage. On top of that he wants to push down the economic standing of all unionized employees via local RtW zones. A Pritzker plan should compel those who can far more easily afford to pay more, himself and Rauner included, to pay a higher state income tax.

    Speaking of spending money, Rauner is spending that 32% tax increase in the budget he recently signed. Fiscal responsibility is missing in the national GOP, as the deficit and debt grow. By not agreeing to budgets and reform offers, Rauner singlehandedly increased debt and deficit probably more than anyone in state history per capita, but some who ought to know better still support him. Strange.


  18. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 1:25 pm:

    This guy is so lame…blaming Rauner for the shootings
    last weekend and now this…Is this really the best we can do Dems? I think not…


  19. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 1:28 pm:

    ===Is this really the best we can do Dems? I think not===

    Um, you’re flat wrong. He won the primary. Your party can therefore do no better for four more years.


  20. - Burnin' down Springfield - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 2:06 pm:

    ==The State can never go bankrupt so spend, spend, spend.==
    Didn’t realize the subject was now spending. Speaking of spending:
    Fixed it as follows:
    “The State SHOULD go bankrupt so let’s spend, spend, spend.” Governor Junk’s plan all along.


  21. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 2:42 pm:

    We have a lot more debt then Arizona. Also with JB spending plans,the millionaire progressive tax will not be enough.The middle class will get hit hard by a tax increase, if JB becomes governor.


  22. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 2:44 pm:

    Where’s the tax plan details
    That’s what people want to see
    He won’t provide any. - very scary


  23. - BlueDogDem - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 2:57 pm:

    I fully expect to be paying higher income taxes under the Pritzker regime. I fully expect to be paying sales tax on certain services under the Pritzker regime. I fully expect to paying higher property taxes during the Pritzker regime.

    But had Rauner ran unopposed in the General, I would have said the same.


  24. - commonsense 171 - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 3:22 pm:

    Can we stop with the nonsense and starting getting specifics on how they will solve the many problems in our state, starting with state finances and pension funding.


  25. - Deadbeat Conservative (TBB) - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 3:33 pm:

    =Can we stop with the nonsense and starting getting specifics on how they will solve the many problems in our state, starting with state finances and pension funding.= (?)

    No we can’t. This is the same state that goes to court to argue it doesn’t have to pay its bills.


  26. - TKMH - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    @Loop Lady
    ==Is this really the best we can do Dems?==

    He ran against Biss and Kennedy, the answer is yes, this is the best we can do.


  27. - PublicServant - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 7:21 pm:

    Compared to “Shake up Springfield, bring back Illinois”, Pritzker’s plans are encyclopedic in detail.


  28. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Aug 9, 18 @ 8:06 pm:

    Rhetorical question Rich…I get it…


  29. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 8:10 am:

    Looks like he has the main voting blocks covered


  30. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 9:27 am:

    JB’S leadership role and accomplishment list is this—

    Pull out checkbook, write check, sign check. That’s it.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 9:30 am:

    ===JB’S leadership role and accomplishment list is this—===

    Let’s start with 1871…

    Also pick a name. You’re tiring, ignoring things like 1871 when Rauner openly admits he created no jobs.


  32. - City Zen - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 9:39 am:

    ==Let’s start with 1871…==

    1871’s $2.5M grant from the State of Illinois or the $6M in deferred rent sitting on its books?


  33. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 9:49 am:

    ===1871’s $2.5M grant from the State of Illinois or the $6M in deferred rent sitting on its books?===

    Are you ignoring the jobs created on purpose, or the just blissfully unaware of the companies and jobs that 1871 helped?

    You choose. Take your time.


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