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Pritzker now won’t define what “middle class income” is: “It doesn’t matter”

Tuesday, Oct 9, 2018

* Gov. Rauner defined “middle class income” today at the Sun-Times editorial board as between $50K and $200K for a family of three in Chicagoland. JB Pritzker wouldn’t take the bait and dodged the question. So, at the post-event gaggle he was asked again

Reporter: Why can’t you answer the question about middle class income? What do you believe middle class income is?

Pritzker: Well, again, I’ve told you that it’s important that we negotiate this with the people’s representatives…

Reporter: No, no, no. Not asking about the graduated…

Pritzker: It doesn’t matter.

Reporter: What does someone make who is middle…

Pritzker: But, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we’re going to have to negotiate this with the legislature and it’s going to have to go to a referendum of the people of Illinois.

Reporter: Governor said $50,000-$200,000…

Pritzker aide: Thank you!

Reporter: What does someone make who is middle class?

Pritzker: Thank you very much.

Reporter: What does someone make who is middle class?

Pritzker: Well we talked a little bit about that today.

Reporter: You didn’t answer it.

Pritzker: Thank you.

Reporter: Why is that difficult?

* Tracker video

- Posted by Rich Miller        

48 Comments »
  1. - Real - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:30 pm:

    Tell that reporter to look up middle class incomes if he really wants a good estimate on a answer. Whatever answer Pritzker gives you is still going to have to be debated with the legislature.


  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:31 pm:

    I think I just read a clear preview of what “accountability” and “transparency” will look like for the next 4 years.


  3. - Al - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:33 pm:

    Stop Poindextering him. Ask about the Cannabis tax rates.


  4. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:34 pm:

    Geez, c’mon man.

    How’s about, “The dollar amount can range and depends on where you live, but if you’re working and worried about paying your mortgage and bills, good schools for your kids, affordable healthcare and safe streets, you’re middle class….”

    Dude, you’ve spent millions on staff. They can’t provide answers to softball questions?


  5. - Concerned Illinoisan - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:34 pm:

    this guy is a fraud


  6. - People Over Parties - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    ===Tell that reporter to look up middle class incomes===

    Seriously? It’s a valid question.


  7. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    FYI: The median household income for Illinois was $60,960 in 2016.

    Households earning more than two-thirds of the state’s median income and less than double the state’s median income — between $43,000 and $130,000 — accounted for approximately half of Illinois’ households.

    – MrJM


  8. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    Never talk policy that is inherently boxed in.

    This Pritzker Crew…

    Can’t prep JB, the property tax bungle, Blago tape(s) response, progressive tax parameters…

    Amateur hour.

    They are making JB look bad.

    What good is there in this video.

    A pattern is developing. It’s not good.


  9. - Texas Red - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:36 pm:

    Tax plan is at the foundation of his platform and the dude can’t answer a simple detail.


  10. - Matts - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:39 pm:

    With each Rauner/ Pritzker foul up (and they are piling up), McCann’s chances ratchet up. (Half-Snark)


  11. - Father Ted - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:40 pm:

    Rauner’s tell is when he laughs before answering a question.

    JB’s tell seems to be when he tries to say that something was already discussed earlier in the conversation. “Well we talked a little bit about that today.”


  12. - City Zen - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    The middle class doesn’t matter. Cue the splicer.


  13. - Not It - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    His plan is to negotiate his plan.

    Leaders need to lead, dude.


  14. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    I totally get the avoiding specifics while ahead thing, but there’s gotta be a better answer than that. And just relying on “have to negotiate it with the Legislature” can be turned around to “I can’t have an opinion until I check with Madigan and Cullerton first.” I don’t think that is what he is going for.


  15. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:50 pm:

    “But it doesn’t matter” JB replies to reporter question about what “Middle Class” means. Billionare responds as expected.


  16. - Springfieldish - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:50 pm:

    Love how we’re promoting badgering. So much for raising the journalistic bar.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:52 pm:

    ===I totally get the avoiding specifics while ahead thing, but there’s gotta be a better answer than that.===

    Yep. That’s the whole point. Pritzker is being let down.

    First with the mistakes of boxing him in, then not having anything that resembles as good political coaching to a pivot.

    Be better. This ain’t it.


  18. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:54 pm:

    ===Love how we’re promoting badgering===

    Stop.

    That’s standard journalism for over a century. Politicians don’t want to answer questions so we try to make them answer.


  19. - Real - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:56 pm:

    I’m sure Pritzker will be asked this question again at the next debate. I believe he will provide a better answer at that time without doing what they want him to do.


  20. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 3:58 pm:

    https://money.cnn.com/interactive/economy/middle-class-calculator/

    You can check for yourself by county and state where middle class falls. I don’t expect sound bites from Pritzker, so to answer the exasperated reporter’s question, being middle class is not just about the money. Lifestyle, debt to assest ratios, number of people in the family unit, etc., etc. all are factors in what is considered “middle class”.

    As to how the possible graduated income tax might affect the middle class, it’s going to depend on not only the rates that would be worked out, but also any additional credits, breaks, or exemptions that might also go along with those rates. And, at this point, it really wouldn’t matter if Pritzker answered in a sound bite or a lecture, for some the answer will never be complete enough.


  21. - Texas Red - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:01 pm:

    By not clarifying his tax plan, voters will start assuming worst case and believe JB’s graduated income tax will hit their pocketbooks no matter what income level. Rauner wins the Devil that you know argument.


  22. - view from the cheap seats - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:01 pm:

    If a Republican said he didn’t know this, commenters would go ballistic on this site. Now, crickets.


  23. - Springfieldish - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:01 pm:

    “That’s standard journalism for over a century.” Oh, okay then.


  24. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:01 pm:

    Doesn’t middle class depend where you live?


  25. - Leslie K - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:01 pm:

    Echoing what wordslinger and OW said, how is he still not able to turn a potentially difficult question into an opportunity to repeat his talking points at this late date? Rauner’s range was so absurdly wide that a little political mumbo-jumbo would have sounded like a better answer.


  26. - don the legend - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:06 pm:

    Reporter: Governor said $50,000-$200,000…

    JB: “I agree with the governor.”

    Problem solved.


  27. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:06 pm:

    ===If a Republican said he didn’t know this, commenters would go ballistic on this site. Now, crickets.===

    Yeah, I gave Pritzker and his Crew a pass here.

    That’s on me, my bad.

    The victimhood and partisan react to things… c’mon.


  28. - DarkHorse - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:06 pm:

    So, Pritzker won’t give his “personal opinion” on what constitutes “middle class” - “it doesn’t matter”. Sounds like he’s been reading Harold’s press releases.

    What’s crazy about this: JB probably thinks “I can’t see how anyone can live on less than $250k a year” - if he said only people who make more than that get taxed, he’s probably ok.


  29. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:08 pm:

    ===JB probably thinks “I can’t see how anyone can live on less than $250k a year”===

    His property taxes on his *empty* mansion are more than half that every year.


  30. - Responsa - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:12 pm:

    At some point don’t people need to quit criticizing JB’s “crew” for their inability to come up with reasonable answers to reasonable questions and look to the candidate himself to take care of this? JB’s paying them a lot, sure, and it appears he may not be getting his money’s worth. But he’s the one Illinoisans are voting for or against–not his crew.


  31. - City Zen - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:16 pm:

    ==Rauner’s range was so absurdly wide==

    Not really, considering the onerous property tax burden across the state.


  32. - ChrisB - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:17 pm:

    To be fair, a family making $200,000 is living in abject poverty compared to JB.


  33. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:20 pm:

    JB has been crystal clear- people like Governor Rauner and him (multi millionaires and billionaires) need to pay more.

    JB does not practice what he preaches with off shore holdings sheltering his income and the intent to defraud Cook County on his property taxes

    It does matter when a billionaire sell class warfare to his progressive base as a panacea for all of Illinois problems


  34. - Taxedoutwest - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:26 pm:

    JB doesn’t want to say because he knows too many of duel income union homes will be above the middle class line….and, oopsie, here cometh the tax man knocking on their door


  35. - Sue - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 4:50 pm:

    Doesn’t matter because we will never get to a progressive tax. A year from now the flat rate will be 6 and there will be an increase in the personal exemption. The revenue won’t be enough to shore up State finances but nothing else will be politically doable


  36. - SOIL M - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 5:00 pm:

    It doesnt matter because to a Progressive Elitist, there are only two classes that matter. The Ruling Class, and everyone else.


  37. - peteypablo - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 5:05 pm:

    This was an easy ground ball that he has been bobbling around the last few months and then completely dropped it today. Runner on first by error. Kudos for Sun-Times for pressing him.

    I was curious to see how my tax rate would change in different states with graduate tax rates. If you look at the marginal tax rate it would be higher in all but 5 states but if you look at the effective rate my rate would be lower in 21 other states. Given that my marginal and effective rate are virtually the same in Illinois, I’m concerned that my tax rate will be substantially higher with a graduated tax in Illinois. I do consider myself middle class…


  38. - Steve - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 5:12 pm:

    The earliest the Illinois state income taxes would change is January of 2021 . Here’s hoping we don’t have a recession by then….


  39. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 5:12 pm:

    –If a Republican said he didn’t know this, commenters would go ballistic on this site. Now, crickets.–

    Ah, the Whine Club.

    –At some point don’t people need to quit criticizing JB’s “crew” for their inability to come up with reasonable answers to reasonable questions and look to the candidate himself to take care of this?–

    You be sure to let me know when that is.


  40. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 5:16 pm:

    ===Pritzker: But, it doesn’t matter.===

    “I know, so when they ask you about your policy and the rates and how it will effect people… say it doesn’t matter. Just blow it off…”

    Yikes. I hope that wasn’t what someone on the Pritzker Crew coached JB to say.

    This would be, yet again, gross malpractice to the candidate.

    “Just blow it off. It doesn’t matter”

    I know y’all have a 16–22 point lead in the polls and all… but… I hope this was a miss on JB and not what JB was instructed to say.


  41. - Steve - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 5:16 pm:

    Journalists have every right to know what the new tax tables are going to be in Illinois. JB has every right to not to answer based on the fact that most voters don’t think the tax code change will effect them negatively. These are the risks of voting for JB. It doesn’t seem to be hurting him .


  42. - daltown38 - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 5:29 pm:

    After reading this story and the story about Rauner blaming illegal immigrants for the unemployment problem in Chicago, I’ve come to one conclusion, my fellow citizens… we’re about to get messed over…again.


  43. - Sue - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 6:00 pm:

    Steve doesn’t know what he is talking about. The higher flat rate will be effective July 1 2019


  44. - OneMan - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 7:22 pm:

    There is no win in answering that question for him so he isn’t going to answer it.


  45. - SSL - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 7:55 pm:

    The last thing JB wants to give people is something they can come after him for shortly after the election.

    Remember Bush the first. Read my lips, no new taxes. It didn’t end well.

    Of course it makes everyone wonder what JB’s real plan is.


  46. - Barn Find - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 8:12 pm:

    Being middle class is very subjective anymore. My son lives in a Chicago high rise and owns a IT business. He is middle class. I live in the burbs am retired and have no debt. My income is at the edge of poverty. Yet I live good. I am middle class.


  47. - Jibba - Tuesday, Oct 9, 18 @ 9:57 pm:

    ==What do you believe middle class income is?===

    This is just a back door way of asking about tax rates. He is equally justified in not answering this as he is refusing to answer about tax rates. Let it help or hinder him as the public decides. And let journalists keep asking whatever they wish.


  48. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 10, 18 @ 10:22 am:

    Bad advice can still be expensive advice.


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