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Think Big ad gets it wrong

Monday, Apr 22, 2019

* From one of the latest Think Big Illinois TV ads

In almost every state with an income tax, wealthy people pay a higher tax rate than the middle class

* Nope

Even by the most conservative definition, there are 19 states with income taxes that do not apply higher rates to the earnings of the wealthy — nine flat tax states and 10 with graduated taxes with rates that top out at income below $25,000. Add in another eight states where top rates for married couples kick in somewhere between $31,000 and $104,000, and the Think Big claim becomes even more dubious.

That means far from “almost every” income-taxing state levies a higher rate on top earners, earning this claim a rating of Mostly False.

The ad also claims Kentucky has a graduated income tax. Its rate is a flat 5 percent with some income-reducing itemized deductions.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 9:51 am:

    Sloppy work, clearly not East Jackson Street LLC quality.


  2. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 9:54 am:

    Upon review of states’ income tax rates, what we also have is phonier crying from the right wing than previously thought. The Illinois state income tax rate is lower than the top rates of many red states. Lower incomes are taxed at higher rates in many states.

    https://taxfoundation.org/2019-state-individual-income-tax-rates-brackets/

    The Pritzker plan would keep the income tax low for many people, compared with even red states. It just shows how radical the right wing is.


  3. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 10:02 am:

    Ok, so they got this specific statistic wrong. So what is the takeaway? Are we supposed to take this as an argument for not charging the highest earners at the highest rate? That the top IL rate should kick in somewhere between $31K and $104K like these other states, instead of $250K? Not sure where they’re going with this


  4. - Shytown - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 10:10 am:

    Big whoop. This is about other states. This is hardly the same as Politifact finding that the claim this is a “jobs tax” is totally false since that was a complete fabrication. This is more of an interpretation issue.


  5. - Anon - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 10:12 am:

    ===Ok, so they got this specific statistic wrong. So what is the takeaway? ===

    I don’t think that this was posted as an argument against the policy, it was posted because state politics is the purpose of this blog and the fact that this organization has messaging that is not factually correct is super relevant to the purpose of this blog.

    Someone has thrown a lot of money at Think Big and while stretching the truth for a political message is a gray area, being factually incorrect is terribly embarrassing and frequent readers here appreciate the schadenfreude and the folks behind the organization deserve to be embarrassed for releasing a factually incorrect ad.

    If you got that kind of money, spend it on someone that knows something about taxes.

    If you can’t hire someone that knows about taxes, fact check all of your statements.

    And given the nature of this organization, there are people who know about taxes that would probably review their messaging for free because a lot of tax policy folks care very passionately about this issue and would love to see the constitutional amendment succeed.


  6. - The Doc - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 10:19 am:

    There are plenty of legitimate justifications for implementing a graduated tax. No need to twist yourself into a pretzel for an explanation that’s just plain wrong.


  7. - Anon - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 10:20 am:

    If they want to give us property tax rates on par with the other states with progressive taxes I think we would all take that.

    Instead we will continue to be among the highest taxed in property and sales tax, and will just add high income taxes to the mix.


  8. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 10:25 am:

    Nice misdirection Grandson.

    Despite the fact Illinois is among the highest taxed states already , we are still running a 3 billion dollar deficit and JB wants to short the pensions an additional 1.1 billon a year before while passing more tax increases

    JB has no plan to stabilize Illinois finances, his plan will just accelerate the exodus of jobs and population

    https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-highest-lowest-tax-burden/20494/


  9. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 10:35 am:

    The Kentucky miss is just plain lazy.

    There are a number of states with a graduated tax whose top tax rate is equal to or lower than Illinois’ flat tax: AZ, ND, NM, OK, MS.


  10. - Responsa - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 10:36 am:

    A reminder about what Mark Twain said: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

    People who misuse statistics in order to obfuscate and shade the truth do themselves and their cause a disservice. Always. After being caught, people here who seem to be saying, “so what, they got a few facts wrong– it’s in service of a greater cause” –smh.


  11. - OneMan - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    I would just be impressed if they started using families making over 250,000 vs people since it last I understood it will be families making over $250,000


  12. - add it again x 2 - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 11:00 am:

    and we just increased both our property taxes and pension debt again, by passing increased teacher salaries


  13. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    Well LP, I suppose he could do what Rauner did and simply not pay any bills and double the outstanding bills to $16 billion.

    Is shorting the pension systems the answer? Absolutely not. But at least JB has the governing thing down unlike our previous Governor.


  14. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    Not real good in the research department I guess. Hard to take a group seriously when they botch something so basic.


  15. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 11:27 am:

    Please explain to us how JB and the supermajority Democratic legislature have the governing thing down Demoralized.

    Telling people they can have their cake and eat it too is always more popular.

    Especially when you tell them they don’t have to pay for more cake but their grandchildren will.

    So it was Governor Rauner who singlehandedly did not pay the bills and doubled the debt to 16 billion?

    I guess you prefer raising taxes to pay for even more spending the progressives demand even though the budget is unbalanced by 3 billion and ignoring the reasons for the shortfall in the budget.


  16. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 11:29 am:

    “Nice misdirection Grandson.”

    Lol, are they hiring at the IPI?

    “Despite the fact Illinois is among the highest taxed states”

    Not the state income tax. We have a rate that’s lower than many red states, who tax people with lower incomes at higher rates.


  17. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 1:01 pm:

    –So it was Governor Rauner who singlehandedly did not pay the bills and doubled the debt to 16 billion?–

    Yes. It was critical to his plan.


  18. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    ==Please explain to us how JB and the supermajority Democratic legislature have the governing thing down Demoralized.==

    That should be self-explanatory (except of course to our resident bot) and you only need to look at the previous Governor to see what the inability to govern looks like.

    ==So it was Governor Rauner who singlehandedly did not pay the bills and doubled the debt to 16 billion?==

    You really are never going to stop playing the victim or moving off of your tired talking points for the last 4 years are you?

    The answer to your question, though, it yes.


  19. - Sue - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    Would like to remind all of you with short memories. When the Dems passed the 5 percent temp tax it was supposed to fix the state’s woeful finances. Soooo why should we believe the Fair Tax will so much to dig the State out of its fiscal mess. What we are being sold is just another snow job. They will spend more then they raise and then they will tell us they need to hike rates above 8 and reach down to folks at 100k or less. A little honest would help but why should anyone expect candor


  20. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    ==What we are being sold is just another snow job. ==

    You don’t need candor when you speak the language. When the state says temporary, they mean permanent. The fair tax has an aura of permanency, so no doubt the rates are temporary.


  21. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 3:43 pm:

    The problem that this calls attention to is the great unfairness in many states, in which the poor and middle class are taxed at the same rates as the rich—and those are often top tax rates in a graduated system.

    The other problem, again, is the right wing phoniness about taxes in Illinois. The Illinois state income tax is lower for the rich than many red states, at least before deductions. Local taxes and property taxes are not levied by state government. Illinois Exodus my behind. No wonder they’re still here, with that low state income tax and higher than average incomes.


  22. - Mike Royko - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 8:21 pm:

    Better lives await those relocating from Illinois. Check out Nevada. No income tax. Property tax


  23. - Sidepocket - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 6:43 am:

    How much tax revenue does legalized recreational cannabis bring into Colorado and California? Anything close to filling some deficits in the state budget?


  24. - Central IL - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 6:59 am:

    Demoralized-
    J.B. has this thing down? What? Refusing to fix the pension problem? J.B. doesn’t understand taxes, although he has figured out how to avoid them. As it is now, an Illinois taxpayer earning $250,000 pays 10X as much in state income tax as a taxpayer earning $25,000. That’s not enough? As recently as 2014, our current Governor paid NO state income tax on reported income of more than $3 million. That’s not a tax rate problem. Under his current “fair tax” scheme, he still would have paid NO income tax.


  25. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 8:40 am:

    –How much tax revenue does legalized recreational cannabis bring into Colorado and California? Anything close to filling some deficits in the state budget?–

    Feel free to use the google.

    California is running a $20B annual budget surplus, Colorado a billion-plus, but not because of weed.


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