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Question of the day

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019

* Marni Pyke at the Daily Herald

Republican Sen. Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods said, “there is nothing in this [Pritzker graduated income tax] proposal that would protect taxpayers, especially middle-class families, from future tax increases after the new structure goes into effect.”

There are no such guarantees in the current tax law, but I digress.

* The Question: What constitutional provisions, if any, would you support to “protect” middle-class families from future tax increases after the new graduated tax structure takes effect? Make sure to explain your answer, please. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

60 Comments »
  1. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:12 pm:

    I don’t know, as I don’t know what they’re talking about in any real, policy sense.

    I suspect it’s just random, soothing political noises.


  2. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

    Do not micromanage a constitutional amendment. Allow for a graduate tax and legislators can do their job. If the people do not like the tax rates enacted they have the constitutional right to vote them out


  3. - The Captain - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

    As part of the capital bill we could erect and install a guillotine in the county seat of every county.


  4. - Madame Defarge - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    About the only way to do it would be to put in the amendment that there could only be a limited number of rates–say 4 and the each rate can be no more than say 10% more than the rate below it. This would effectively cap or hold down the upper rates as the bottom rate would likely become a third rail. The numbers are for illustration of the concept only.


  5. - lakeside - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    None. Taxation is the cost to provide government services and should be flexible enough to provide such services as needed at any particular time. A brittle taxation system is one of the reasons we are in this mess.


  6. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    ===This would effectively cap or hold down the upper rates===

    But are the upper rates “middle class”?


  7. - Madame Defarge - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:19 pm:

    Rich, any rate above the lowest rate would be held down. One of those has to capture the “middle class’.


  8. - OutOfState - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:19 pm:

    I’m not sure what such a “protection” would even look like. One would assume that if this a good faith argument against the graduated tax, there would be some protection the current flat tax provides that the proposal lacks.

    The only thing I can think of is that the flat tax can’t explicitly target any single income group, like the “middle class”. However, the whole point of the constitutional amendment would be to allow the income tax to target high income earners without hurting the middle class. Yeah, that leaves the middle class theoretically open to higher rates, but is that likely?

    Ultimately, I’m pretty sure the best constitutional protection for the middle class against high taxes is the right to vote - if the middle class doesn’t like their new, higher tax rate, then the middle class can vote them out of office.


  9. - OutOfState - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    Madame, I agree with the idea of tying the rates together after the amendment is passed, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to box in future lawmakers with such a rule. Future legislators should get the opportunity to adjust policy to fiscal conditions, at their electoral peril.


  10. - Perrid - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:24 pm:

    None. As many conservatives would say, building inflexibility into out constitution (pensions) is causing a lot of problems for us today. You want certain rate? Write a bill and get it passed. You don’t want certain rates? Fight it.

    Tying your hands tomorrow today is just silly.


  11. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:24 pm:

    None. The flat tax article only protected the middle class from paying a lower tax rate than the rich. There is no need for further protection in the state constitution.


  12. - LXB - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:25 pm:

    I would support allowing voters to vote out legislators who passed a tax hike they didn’t like, in favor of candidates who would repeal it.


  13. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:25 pm:

    @Lakeside states it perfectly. Well done.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    None.

    “Why?”

    Until I know what it all entails choosing any safety provision is a parlor game at best.


  15. - RNUG - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:32 pm:

    I don’t know if it would be middle class do much, but I would like to see a limitation, barring a national emergency, that rates could not be raised more than once every 5 years. Require something like a 4/5’s majority to override the 5 year restriction.

    If you want to try to protect the middle class, then dictate that the bracket covering the statistical mean (I prefer mean to average) income for the state have a rate set at 1/3 or less than the rate of the top bracket. Without running the math at the moment, that would probably be close to 3.3% for the $50k income and 10% or higher for the millionaire / billionaire bracket. If the GOP wants to protect the middle class, let’s take them at their word and really stick it to the wealthy … and expect the GOP to put votes on it to match their mouth.


  16. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:33 pm:

    None. If they get carried away people will vote them out.


  17. - Norseman - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:35 pm:

    A graduated tax system provides the middle class with the protection it deserves regarding the state tax structure. The idea of a “constitutional” protection against tax increases is a ridiculously deleterious suggestion.


  18. - Twirling Towards Freedom - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:36 pm:

    If anything, a provision that the brackets be adjusted periodically based on inflation. This would protect the middle class from ending up in a higher tax bracket despite not gaining an increase in spending power. Maybe a provision that says any bracket that remains unchanged for 10 years must be adjusted


  19. - Steve - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    All future state income tax increases must go to voters on a referendum like they have in Colorado.


  20. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:41 pm:

    How I think you could do it.

    That the maximum rate paid on any income by someone reports an income within 20% of the states median income in the last available tax year shall be no more than 50% higher than the lowest rate charged for income that is in the bottom 10% of reported income.


  21. - Notorious RBG - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:42 pm:

    None. Taxpayers are protected from tax increases now by their opportunity to vote out the legislators and governor who sign those taxes into law. Those same protections will be available under a progressive tax structure.


  22. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:46 pm:

    – Require something like a 4/5’s majority to override the 5 year restriction. –

    I don’t think that’s enough protection.
    I favor requiring a 7/5ths majority in order to raise taxes on the middle class.


  23. - What's in a name? - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    The only substantive argument against the Progressive tax is that the current proposal is a Trojan Horse. That enough money won’t be raised and shortly after passing the CA the legislature will say we need more money and raise the taxes on the middle class. The protection is at the ballot box.


  24. - Not It - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    Not pass it to begin with.


  25. - Lt Guv - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:49 pm:

    None. Seconding what Lakeside wrote.


  26. - City Zen - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    Put in:
    - inflation indexing
    - top rate tied to lowest rate
    - bracket limitations (total number)

    Do not put in:
    - specific tax rates


  27. - I Miss Bentohs - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:54 pm:

    None.

    I do not mean to be too mean Rich but the question is almost as dumb as the statement.


  28. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    None, as this initially sounds like non-sensical political jibberish from a guy who can’t figure out how else to oppose a very popular tax plan without looking like he cares more for his funders than his voters. Does any state constitution have this? How would it even work? If the esteemed gentleman from Hawthorn Woods can figure out how to put these “protections” into bill form, I’d be very interested in looking at it.


  29. - Barrington - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:58 pm:

    None, isn’t this answered by the voters every two years?


  30. - very old soil - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 4:04 pm:

    RNUG @ 3:32
    Didn’t you mean the “median” not the “mean”


  31. - Pundent - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 4:07 pm:

    None. The best way to protect the middle class is through their constitutional rights at the ballot box. Part of the problem we face today has been an unwillingness to change the tax rates. It should have been done years ago but the political will didn’t appear until things were far too dire. I’d worry about a situation in the future where elected official were shielded by the constitution from making needed changes. They’ve always had the ability to change the flat tax rates. The reality is that very few D or R have the will to do it.


  32. - Unpopular - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    I don’t mind the taxes, I just don’t want any more fees.


  33. - BenFolds5 - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 4:23 pm:

    None. Lakeside for the win. Middle class is subjective in Illinois. 150k in Marion is heck of alot more than 150 k in Glen Ellyn.


  34. - Anon225 - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 4:25 pm:

    I don’t know how realistic this would be, but maybe add a provision that the rates can’t be increase like every three or four years. Or can only be increased once during a governor’s four-year term. That way they can’t use the argument that it will be increased every year.


  35. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 4:28 pm:

    None. Zero. Zilch.

    Haven’t we learned anything from the handcuffs around pension benefits? Tax policy should be in the hands of the legislature and executive branch. Not in the constitution.


  36. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 4:35 pm:

    Three fifths vote by both houses to change rates and brackets. If you know anything about politics in Illinois, do not give the politicians a blank check to increase taxes and spending.


  37. - SAP - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 4:37 pm:

    Similar to Madame Defarge, I favor a limit on the number of rates and a ratio that keeps the different rates from getting spread too far apart, like the current structure for Corporate and Individual Income Tax. If the proposed Constitutional Amendment is to simply do away with the flat rate, it will be difficult to reassure people at any income that they will not be disproportionately taxed.


  38. - Hardworking State Employee - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 4:48 pm:

    No protections. As far as I’m concerned, the brackets are too generous now. This complaining from privileged mostly white men is old. The top rate should be paid by anyone making over $100,000 (unless you work for a non-profit, school, or government) with all the deductions disappearing, not a million. These people have gotten rich off the backs of the public sector long enough with their artificially low taxes. Its time they paid their fare share so we can be funded like we should be.


  39. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 4:54 pm:

    ===None. Taxpayers are protected from tax increases now by their opportunity to vote out the legislators and governor who sign those taxes into law.===

    Add a constitutional amendment for Fair Maps to the constitutional Fair Tax and the above statement would become true.

    Both are wildly popular with the voters. Give the voters what they want.


  40. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 4:54 pm:

    I would not support putting any restrictions in the Constitution. You do not want to tie your hands, especially by enshrining any limitations in the Constitution.


  41. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 5:04 pm:

    ===Add a constitutional amendment for Fair Maps to the constitutional Fair Tax and the above statement would become true.===

    Find 71 and 36…


  42. - FormerILLobster - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 5:09 pm:

    Add a Constitutional provision that any increases in the actual marginal tax rates, that would generate more than $500 million have to go to a Statewide referendum vote of the people. Other States have this Constitutional provision


  43. - James - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 5:14 pm:

    None, see DuPage Saint and Lakeside comments at 3:13 and 3:14.


  44. - Flowing Comb Over - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 5:15 pm:

    Simple. Tie the rates to each other if they are increased or decreased. If one is adjusted, all rates are adjusted equally as a percentage/ratio or something. Similar to how the corporate and income tax are today.


  45. - a drop in - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 5:17 pm:

    1) index income levels to inflation.
    2) 3/5th supermajority to raise OR lower rates.

    This protects the next Rauner from trying to make Illinois like Kansas.


  46. - Rabid - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 5:27 pm:

    Eat the rich proposal any tax increases will be covered by the rich


  47. - marylouise - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 5:31 pm:

    Once a Constitutional Amendment is passed changing the tax to a Progressive Tax, the Legislature has the authority to raise it again at any time like they can now.
    Check it out.


  48. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 5:53 pm:

    None. Raising taxes has political peril built in, which is a safeguard. Raise taxes the wrong way and lose power.


  49. - RNUG - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 5:53 pm:

    == Didn’t you mean the “median” not the “mean” ==

    Nice catch. Rereading it where I put in the average comment, yes, I did mean (intend) median.


  50. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 6:32 pm:

    Was it just a coincidence that Madame Defarge commented right after the suggestion about the guillotine?


  51. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 11:40 pm:

    But Illinois is like Kansas without Chicago.


  52. - Anon - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 12:18 am:

    Must be approved by 2/3 majority vote by the voters. Keep it simple


  53. - lost in the weeds - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 12:54 am:

    Restricting tax rates in the constitution is unwise. Why limit the ability to perform neccesary functions.

    Retain the people’s right to vote. Limit campaign contributions. Revise Illinois’ campaign finance laws to give the little guy more say in what taxes they must pay.


  54. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 4:25 am:

    ==The top rate should be paid by anyone making over $100,000 (unless you work for a non-profit, school, or government)==

    State Employee, although I agree with you that the rate graduations should start at a point much lower than the Governor has proposed, I don’t get the quoted statement. Do you mean that someone making over $100K in a Governmemt job should be taxed at a lesser rate than a guy who makes the same money by owning a hot dog stand or works as a project manager or engineer? Are you kidding?


  55. - AnneofIL - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 5:11 am:

    Gov’t/nonprofit/school employees get a special rate if they make over 100K? So a scamming ‘non-profiteer’, let’s say a televangelist, doesn’t have to pay his fair share? Ridiculous.


  56. - Rabid - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 6:38 am:

    None you want to protect the 3% with a shout-out to the middle class


  57. - PublicServant - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 7:21 am:

    No limitations. Middle Class voting will protect the middle class. Republican concern deals, once again, with allowing the rich to hide behind the middle class, and their “concerns” should be treated as the scam they are.


  58. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 8:53 am:

    Of course they can set limits to tax increases. It’s already done with property tax increases. It’s not a question of can they only do they want limits. The answer to that is of course they don’t. Schools live with tax increase limits, so could the legislature. And yes t is a rigged system since public employees have bargaining rights they use that to influence politicians who want that support. We’ll vote for you and you’ll give us increases. It’s quite the system when you think about it.


  59. - Anon - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 8:57 am:

    Amend the US Constitution to allow states to declare bankruptcy. That way the people of Illinois will never have to be held accountable for the services they expected decades ago without being willing to pay for it, and they can continue to elect empty suits that have no desire to legislate an effective public entity that provides reliable public goods and services.


  60. - Arock - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 9:17 am:

    Place a condition that the Pritzker family has to move all their money out of off shore tax havens and pay back taxes on said money and then we can talk about fair tax.


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