Pritzker, repeating talking points he used last week when launching his tax proposal, said the plan would help the state address its $3.2 billion budget deficit, $8.4 billion backlog of unpaid bills and $134 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. He presented two alternatives: across-the-board spending cuts or an increase in the current flat tax rate. The governor so far has ruled out extending the sales tax to consumer services or taxing retirement income, moves that would put Illinois more in line with other states but are politically unpopular.
Pritkzer’s plan has been met with unified opposition from Republican lawmakers and large business organizations including the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. They argue that raising taxes on the wealthy will push residents and businesses out of the state.
Rather than just criticize his plan, Pritzker said, opponents should offer “a specific counter-proposal.” So far, none has been forthcoming.
* It’s a different tax, but still on-topic…
Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 32 cents. That’s expected to raise $55 million in revenue, the administration said.
Illinois Association of Convenience Stores Executive Vice President Bill Fleischli represents thousands of convenience stores around the state. He said Pritzker proposal will make Illinois’ taxes on cigarettes about $2.30 a pack in Illinois. He said that would push Illinois’ taxes on cigarettes to the highest in the region, behind Wisconsin. […]
Instead of increasing taxes, Fleischli said the state should find other ways to shore up the budget.
“Look at anything, look at a reduction in spending,” Fleischli said. “Look at other areas, not just the sins. We ought to go someplace else.”
It’s not really fair to expect Fleischli to propose an alternative revenue or spending plan. That’s not what he does. But it is a useful rhetorical device to make the opposition sputter.