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Pritzker rhetoric thrown back at him

Monday, Apr 15, 2019

* Last week

At a news conference in his office Tuesday, Gov. JB Pritzker said it’s time to “let the people vote” on whether they would like to see the [income] tax structure overhauled.

“We have a constitutional amendment process that ultimately puts this decision to the voters,” Pritzker said. “It’s time to let the people of Illinois – our taxpayers – decide.”

* Tribune editorial

We never guessed that, like spring introducing crocuses to wide-eyed baby bunnies, Gov. J.B. Pritzker would introduce a novel concept called democracy to his fellow Democrats. As in, letting the people of Illinois vote their wishes.

How startling, then, to see this lead story in Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune: “ ‘Let the people vote’ on taxes — Pritzker pushes critics for their plan, says taxpayers can decide.” Boldface ours, with pleasure. […]

Yes, Illinoisans do have an amendment process, and Pritzker’s fellow Democrats have done a splendid job of making sure voters couldn’t make it work for them. For years citizens have tried — by amendment or statute — to enshrine pension reform, and term limits on lawmakers, and a redistricting process that lets voters choose their legislators rather than the other way around. […]

So how about a package deal, Governor, of amendments or statutory changes: Let the people vote not just on taking more billions of dollars a year from wallets — an amount sure to grow and grow as tax rates rise and rise. Let the people also vote on rewriting the rigid pension clause of the constitution. Let the people vote on term limits. Let the people vote on creating a fair remap scheme.

Easier said than done, of course.

* Jim Dey

The result is his feverish interest in allowing voters to address an issue he cares about — generating more tax revenue — declines dramatically when it comes to other issues that would upset the status quo and the permanent political class.

Pritzker, of course, is no different from other politicians when it comes to issuing bogus cries to “let the people” vote. It’s a common refrain from intellectually dishonest pols who know a good line when they steal one.

But, like so much of the rhetoric from our public servants, its inherent insincerity is exceeded only by its grotesque selectivity.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Just Me 2 - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 9:57 am:

    The current redistricting process is the most corrupt part of state government. I have personally spoken with legislators that talked openly of adjusting their district boundaries to include or exclude specific precincts or even specific addresses. It’s gross.

  2. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 10:03 am:

    Trib, you mean we should expect to have elected officials who make decisions based on what’s best for everyone and not just themselves the government unions? Wow, what a concept.

  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 10:05 am:

    I’m not seeing the Pritzker hypocrisy, just tronc/Dey whining.

    Pritzker is pointing out that under the Constitutional process, voters have the final say on the question, if the proposal Pritzker favors makes it out of the GA. Governors, by the way, have no Constitutional role in that process.

    If the troncs have Constitutional amendments they favor, perhaps they should unleash their mighty and irresistible persuasive power to endorse and get like-minded legislators elected. Or perhaps citizen-proposed amendments, drawing on the legions of loyal go-getters who takes their editorials seriously.

  4. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 10:07 am:

    A lot of projection from Jim Dey.

  5. - Fixer - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 10:09 am:

    Tronc Ed Board, get your bill through like any other CA bill, then we’ll talk.

  6. - Anotheretiree - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 10:11 am:

    If we are going to let the people decide if a pension contract needs to be honored, why not expand that to Bond repayment ? I propose 80 cents on the dollar repayment. As long as the majority gets to decide whom to defraud.

  7. - thoughts matter - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 10:17 am:

    I agree with wordslinger. Get your CA proposal through the system just like this one.

    Regarding specifically the pension: the pension can be changed or eliminated for new employees with a simple bill that becomes law- doesn’t need a CA. A CA isn’t going to be allowed to retroactively change the pensions of people who depended on that income promise while they were working and while they are now retired or retiring. Especially employees that were excluded from the social security system to the benefit of the taxpayers at the time.

  8. - AnonymousOne - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 10:31 am:

    Yes, I think bond holders need to take a haircut as well, if pension recipients have to. As far as restructuring the pension clause goes, I hope folks understand that that would impact those going forward. It will do nothing to erase the massive debt created by our legislature that everyone recognizes as the problem. Tier 2 also impacts the future pensions of those at that level. It does nothing to address the backlog of debt. This will need to be repaid no matter what law or amendment is created. Solves nothing.

  9. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 10:43 am:

    The “Fair Maps “ proposals usually are Rube Goldberg creations that attempt to fix the problems inherent in single member districts. That approach is hard to explain and subject to court challenges as an initiative.

    Go to 3 member districts with cumulative voting as we had before the Cutback Amendment. Have this apply to both the Senate and the House.

    If the GA passes this as CA and includes open primaries where the top five vote getters make the ballot to compete for the three seats, set the numbers at 60 Senators and 120 Representatives.

    If done as a voter initiative, drop the open primary requirement as it is too vulnerable to court challenge. Then set the number of Senators at 30 and Representatives at 60. The Quinn Cutback Amendment shows this approach passes Constitutional muster.

  10. - PJ - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    I mean, there’s no choice but to let the people vote on this. It’s not like he’s just saying that for the rhetorical flourish. Some galaxy brain enshrined flat rates in the constitution, so an amendment is the only way to change it. That doesn’t mean we need to also vote on every random GOP priority in a state that voted that party into a super-minority.

  11. - A Jack - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:03 am:

    Pritzker ran on fair tax and won by a large margin. So it only makes since that Pritzker pushes a fair tax amendment.

    On the other hand, the guy who supported Tronc’s dream list of amendments lost by a huge margin.

  12. - Roman - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:05 am:

    Not sure exactly how that constitutional amendment package deal would work. I mean, this is all about rounding up actual votes in the General Assembly and not about what sounds reasonable editorial writers.

    A package deal is only necessary if JB can’t get a relative handful of reluctant Dem targets to approve his tax amendment resolution. But a package deal can only work if JB is strong enough to muscle several dozen Dem members into supporting pension and term limit amendments, which they are steadfastly against. If he can’t do one, I don’t think he can do the other.

  13. - Rabid - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    The tronc package deal , buy one get two free

  14. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:22 am:

    –Not sure exactly how that constitutional amendment package deal would work. I mean, this is all about rounding up actual votes in the General Assembly and not about what sounds reasonable editorial writers.–

    So, you’re not buying the “logic” that GOP GA members would back a graduated income tax amendment in exchange for Dem support of a term-limits amendment?

    Are you questioning Brady and Durkin’s commitment to term limits?

  15. - Juvenal - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:22 am:

    Never forget all of those @StatehouseChick columns insisting we take up a graduated tax alongside redistricting and pensions when Bruce Rauner was governor. #BowlingGreenMassacre #NeverRemember

    PS: A package deal takes away votes, it does not add votes.

    Adding pension repeal might get you 3-5 GOP votes, but you lose 25-30 Democrats.

  16. - Perrid - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:23 am:

    Pension reform means reneging on the pension debt. Future employees, in Tier II or III or whatever comes next, are not the problem. Ignoring all the politics, legally that is a flimsy, flimsy straw to build a plan around.

    Term limits only take power away from voters. Someone is saying “No, you can’t vote for this person to represent you because I happen to think they’ve been doing this too long.” It’s more undemocratic than the Electoral College.

    I’m all for “fair” district maps. I just don’t trust the republicans to come up with a genuinely fair, unbiased deal any more than democrats.

    All that aside, having editorials calling JB a hypocrite for wanting voters to weigh in on things he likes and not on things he dislikes, while yelling loudly that voters should weigh in on things THEY like and not on things THEY dislike, is beyond the pale even for the Trib.

  17. - Sue - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:27 am:

    Word - you are being kind of hypocritical today- voters got sufficient signatures to get redistricting onto the ballot three years ago only to have your idol’s lawyer succeeding in having the courts throw it out. If we are to have a “voice”(“lol”) on taxes how about on the legislative maps. The Tribune is spot on

  18. - Flat Bed Ford - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:27 am:

    A lot of whistling past the graveyard here today. Jack up rates all you want under a constitutionally changed rate structure. There will never be enough $$ to pay for all state spending. Unfair maps also adds to peoples distrust of state government. That may come home to roost come November of 2020 when/if graduated tax vote fails. Who trusts Springfield with even more money??

  19. - Annonin' - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    Mr/Ms LBM
    “The “Fair Maps “ proposals usually are Rube Goldberg creations”
    we were personal friends with Mr. Goldberg and it is an insult to him to compare the Fair Maps gibberish with any of his master pieces.
    Comments Katrina and her uncle, “Mr Dey”, are self disqualifiers

  20. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    ===voters got sufficient signatures===

    Means nothing if the proposal doesn’t conform to the Constitution. You could collect a million signatures annexing Wisconsin and it wouldn’t make it onto the ballot.

  21. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:45 am:

    –Word - you are being kind of hypocritical today- voters got sufficient signatures to get redistricting onto the ballot three years ago only to have your idol’s lawyer succeeding in having the courts throw it out.–

    I’m certain Walter Payton had nothing to do with that, so leave him out of it.

    Curious that a big macher like Rauner couldn’t come up with competent legal counsel for his obviously flawed term limits and redistricting amendments.

    It’s almost as if he was just collecting voter data, and wanted the measures to get tossed so he could run on them….

  22. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:46 am:

    –A lot of whistling past the graveyard here today.–

    Where, in what way?

  23. - CPA - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:49 am:

    I’m in the 97% but the tax cuts are too small for me to vote yes.

    Has to be more than $50-100 in cuts for me to approve.

    AGI of 60K, filing single.

  24. - RNUG - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:57 am:

    While Illinois is as liberal as New York and California in most things, this ain’t California when it comes to citizen initiatives; voter driven initiatives are not allowed except in a very narrow category on the General Assembly’s structure. The only successful voter originated CA I can remember is the Quinn cutback amendment.

    Everything else is off limits for voter initiatives. If you want to change something, get yourself a tame Representative to introduce a CA, and lobby the General Assembly to approve it, then lobby the voters to approve it.

  25. - anon2 - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    The Governor is no more hypocritical than the Republicans who don’t want to let voters decide on a graduated income tax, while insisting voters should decide on issues the GOP cares about. Both parties are selective about when they trust the people to decide. What pol is consistent in this regard?

  26. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 12:07 pm:

    Why does GOP intelligencia keep harping on this? Conservatives can just approve fair maps and pension theft for their new state when they get done forcing Chicago to secede from Illinois. /s

  27. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 12:12 pm:

    –I’m in the 97% but the tax cuts are too small for me to vote yes. –

    Curious reasoning. I don’t think you’re going to like Plan B.

  28. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 12:13 pm:

    ===I don’t think you’re going to like Plan B===


  29. - DougChicago - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    Folks need to check out the federal constitution’s contract clause before they get so excited about a pension amendment. Our constitution protects state public pensions as a matter of contract. The federal constitution is very likely to prevent that same state from unilaterally abridging its contractual commitments.

    Tier 1 (and for that matter Tier 2 but not sure who cares about those) are here to stay. As they should be. A promise is a promise. Deal with it.

  30. - RNUG - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 12:25 pm:

    == It’s almost as if he was just collecting voter data, and wanted the measures to get tossed so he could run on them…. ==

    Like it it not, the 1970 Con-Con made it relatively hard to change the IL Constitution. They deliberately made it nigh impossible for voters to change it.

    All the referenda presented to the voters these past 10 years were either just advisory in nature or designed to drum up voter turnout while being fatally flawed or unconsitutional so the change would not survive legal challenge. It’s all been a stage act to appear to be doing something. True smoke and mirror politics.

  31. - No way I say - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 12:27 pm:

    Illinois will collapse in the next five years or less. Anyone that can move will move, and the pensions will collapse. Enjoy!

  32. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 12:33 pm:

    “No way I say,” just for snicks, I ran your IP address through my site search. You’ve been saying you’re leaving Illinois since September of 2015.

    And yet we’re supposed to listen to you?

  33. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 12:40 pm:

    ==I don’t think you’re going to like Plan B.==

    Call that bluff.

  34. - No way - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    So if I had moved you would believe everything I say about the pensions and Illinois? You are an idiot. Mark Glennon owns your ass constantly on Twitter, and you barely even ever respond. The next recession is game over for the pensions pal, and you know it. 50% of the budget will never go towards pensions, as it would have to in the long run for solvency, and we both know that the state will collapse if the pensions ever come out of the general fund, which means the pensions are toast the second they run out of money. I can’t wait for it!

  35. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 1:19 pm:

    ===I can’t wait for it! ===

    I let your comment through so people could see what sort of bizarre, pathetic strangeoids inhabit the dark side.

  36. - Sue - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    Rich- you are smarter then that- IMO a Judge see’s Kasper in court and knows the Madigan relationship after that you really think the voters get a fair hearing on a matter Madigan opposes? Our legislative map is no better then what the Dems complain about in places like NC, MD WS etc the only difference here is it benefits Dems not R’s.

  37. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    === IMO===

    You’re chock full of those. But they’re mostly conspiracy theories.

  38. - Roman - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    - Sue -

    I’ve worked a few campaigns that have been represented by Kasper. The judges in those cases most definitely did not “see” Kasper in court and rule in our favor. Time to find a better conspiracy theory.

  39. - thoughts matter - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    RNUG hasn’t had a chance to say it, so I will.
    The state was told that they didn’t have to fund the pensions, but they had to pay them. They were told that they couldn’t plead lack of funds because they had the ability to get funds by raising taxes. So Plan B or C or Z. The lack of planning is not going to be seen as an emergency by the courts. The pensions are not toast.

  40. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 2:42 pm:

    –the state will collapse–

    How will that manifest itself? Walk us through, Nostradamus.

  41. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 3:11 pm:

    ==How will that manifest itself?==

    JB will take the form of the Night King and raise his arms, thereby resurrecting all the Tier 1 pensioners who had passed away to collect their pensions once again.

  42. - SSL - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    The grand solution of the so called progressive income tax doesn’t even fully address today’s structural budget deficit. Two years from now when the new tax is in place, the structural deficit will be larger, right? So the new tax won’t even balance the budget will it? And what of the current bill backlog? Don’t tell me the state will still be in debt.

    So many easy holes to shoot in JB’s plans. That’s without any kind of recession, and the pension can kicking by JB.

    Well, he wanted the job, and now he’s already failing. Oh well, maybe next time.

  43. - Thomas Paine - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 3:49 pm:

    === “Mark Glennon owns you constantly on Twitter, and you barely even respond.” ===

    Mark who?

    Oh yeah, the wirepoints guy.

    Mark Glennon on Twitter: 348 followers
    Wirepoints: 1,259 followers

    Capitolfax: 25,400 followers


  44. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 3:59 pm:

    Those who argue the Governors tax plan does not raise enough revenue are probably right. But that is not an argument for no tax increase.

    I would like to see a bigger tax increase with spending constraints attached. But I am not hearing that advocated.

  45. - Thomas Paine - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 4:00 pm:

    @SSL -

    If GOP lawmakers want to make an argument for a bigger tax hike in 2021, they can. Sounds like Democrats believe we should make cuts if that turns out to be the case.

    Your point is well-taken however and shows the folly of locking rates into the constitution.

  46. - @misterjayem - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 5:00 pm:

    Let the people vote not just on taking more billions of dollars a year from wallets — an amount sure to grow and grow as tax rates rise and rise. Let the people also vote on rewriting the rigid pension clause of the constitution. Let the people vote on term limits. Let the people vote on creating a fair remap scheme.

    Let the people vote on whether newspapers should remain exempt from Illinois sales tax.

    – MrJM

  47. - SSL - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 5:05 pm:

    LBM, I agree. The progressive tax increase is actually very flat. Essentially two rates of 4.95 and 7.75%. Pretty convenient of JB not to raise taxes further on the mega wealthy like Rauner and himself. He’ll pay essentially the same rate as a dual income household with income of $250,000. What a phony he is.

    And he won’t even challenge the state agencies to reduce expenses 2%? The worst fiscal state in the union and he can’t squeeze out any inefficiency? He didn’t even try.

  48. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 5:37 pm:


    Foolish hobgoblins.

    Then there is this:

    === Our legislative map is no better then what the Dems complain about in places like NC, MD WS etc the only difference here is it benefits Dems not R’s.===

    First, you apparently have not looked at the maps for North Carolina, Maryland, and Florida. They have district’s that are not even contiguous. Secondly, atleast in Maryland and North Carolina, the maps were drawn specifically to disenfranchise black voters. Third, unlike maps in Wisconsin and NC, Illinois map has been upheld by the courts.

    @RNUG - good to keep in mind that we do have a process for broad rewrites of the Constitution, and atleast in my lifetime the one thing the AFL-CIO and the Illinois Chamber have consistently agreed upon is that would be a bad idea.

  49. - Bruce - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 9:25 pm:

    I’m with previous commenters about the 80 Cents on the dollar for everyone with a State obligation. Bondholders, School Districts, taxpayers awaiting their refunds. Just put a dollar in and get 80% back. It is odd the State pays interest for late bill payments but discount “on-time” or delayed payments (i.e. pension). Offer the retirees an 80% lump sum, then finance it with bonds we will offer 80 cents on the dollar to pay=off and the State comes out ahead.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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