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Fun with numbers

Thursday, May 23, 2019

* There’s so much to unpack in this…



First, the governor’s motor fuel tax increase would bring in $560 million a year, not $1.2 billion (although a commenter points out correctly that another big chunk collected by the state would go to local municipalities). And, sorry, but imposing new or higher taxes and licensing fees on things people choose to do, like smoke cigarettes, bet on sports or play video gaming machines, buy cannabis, or whatever, does not strike me as particularly egregious.

…Adding… As a commenter notes, the Illinois Policy Institute published a recent story entitled “Illinois can spend another $10B on infrastructure without tax hikes.” In that story, “legalized sports betting” is identified as a non-tax way to help pay for it. Yet, that revenue is identified above as taxation.

* But here’s John Tillman in a Tribune op-ed bemoaning all those taxes

Why are Springfield lawmakers and our new bully billionaire governor trying to make taxpayers the only defense against decades of fiscal mismanagement by their state government?

Pritzker’s a bully? Tillman’s explanation

When state representatives have the audacity to oppose the governor’s proposal, Pritzker responds by attacking them. That’s what happened when these two Democrats, state Reps. Sam Yingling of Grayslake and Jonathan Carroll of Northbrook, recently said the progressive tax was the wrong choice for their constituents.

Pritzker responded to their pro-constituent decision by saying, “Those who oppose this (progressive tax) plan are siding with millionaires and the very wealthy against everyday Illinoisans, and they need to offer an alternative that will fix our state’s long-standing fiscal challenges.”

Heaven forfend, it’s a… it’s a press release! It’s also downright tame compared to how the Policy Institute has weaponized its Facebook page.

I love this part

House Speaker Michael Madigan in 2012 supported aligning responsibility for setting retirement benefits with accountability for paying these retirement benefits at schools and universities. These two policies alone would save $12.2 billion over five years.

He claims school consolidation would save $2.9 billion over five years, which means the pension cost shift to local school districts would free up $9.3 billion, or close to $2 billion a year. The very next paragraph

Taxpayers are already paying the second-highest property taxes in the country, paying the sixth-highest sales taxes and paying the fifth-highest overall tax burden. For fairness, it is time to limit automatic pay raises for some of the nation’s highest-paid state workers.

They’re gonna be paying even higher property taxes if they have to start picking up $2 billion a year in pension costs. Also, how would limiting automatic raises for state workers help local property taxpayers?

* Meanwhile, from Politico

Do Trump supports like J.B. Pritzker’s graduated income tax? A new poll commissioned for the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition shows a majority of GOP women and non-college voters 55 and older approve of the plan. “More than two-thirds of voters indicate they support the plan after hearing basic information and support extends across the state and across the ideological spectrum,” according the poll by Tulchin Research, the pollster for Bernie Sanders. The survey talked to 500 “likely” November 2020 voters in Illinois from May 2 through 6. There’s a 4-percent margin of error.

The poll memo shows that 68 percent of likely white voters surveyed support the “Fair Tax,” as Pritzker calls it, and 27 percent oppose. Among African Americans, 79 percent support and 17% oppose. And among Latinos, 76 percent support to 17 percent oppose. The poll shows the tax has 67 percent support among white college grads and 68 percent support among whites without four-year college degrees.

* I took a pass on this poll yesterday. Why? Here’s the question

Here is a statement by SUPPORTERS of the Fair Tax plan to move Illinois to a graduated income tax system:

Under the Fair Tax plan, Illinois could fund schools and finally pay its bills while 97% of Illinois residents would not see a state income tax increase. Only those making above $250,000 a year will see their taxes go up, with the largest increases applying to those making more than $1 million.

Now, do you support or oppose the Fair Tax plan?

That “basic information” is more than just a little leading, if you ask me.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

56 Comments
  1. - DougChicago - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 9:58 am:

    Will Tillman ever just go away?


  2. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 9:58 am:

    Tillman is intentionally misleading his readers for political gain. Cleaning up after him is a full time job and if more journalists did this, we’d hear less from him.

    Thanks Rich. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.


  3. - City Zen - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 9:59 am:

    ==That “basic information” is more than just a little leading.==

    Just a smidge…

    Under the Fair Tax plan, a married couple making $50,000 each would pay the same taxes as a single person making $100,000.

    Now, do you support or oppose the Fair Tax plan?


  4. - Pothole - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:01 am:

    I thought the MFT increase was $1.21 billion ($560 million for the state and $650 million distributed to local governments).


  5. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:08 am:

    “Those who oppose this (progressive tax) plan are siding with millionaires and the very wealthy against everyday Illinoisans, and they need to offer an alternative that will fix our state’s long-standing fiscal challenges.”

    This is about as tame as it gets and too tame for the prospects of future Democratic election successes.

    As we saw in the last election, there are way fewer right wingers in Illinois than Democratic voters. Any Democrat who blows up the party’s agenda, or what brings it votes and success, should be met with a harsh response. Thankfully Pritzker and his allies have the financial means. Here’s hoping they have the will. Democrats can’t be allowed to turn a political silk purse into a sow’s ear, as voters support a graduated income tax and marijuana legalization.


  6. - Skeptic - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:09 am:

    “…$50,000 each would pay the same taxes as a single person making $100,000.” Yes, a family making $100,000 would pay the same taxes as a family making $100,000. The problem?


  7. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:15 am:

    ===Under the Fair Tax plan, a married couple making $50,000 each would pay the same taxes as a single person making $100,000.===

    They both get a tax break from the current flat tax.

    Did you forget that?

    Thanks.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:16 am:

    ===Under the Fair Tax plan, a married couple making $50,000 each would pay the same taxes as a single person making $100,000.===

    Narrator: Only income over $250,000 will be at a higher rate than currently exists.


  9. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:19 am:

    Maybe once the local school districts start picking up the costs of the pensions and realize they are unsustainable, the districts would stop picking up the employee share of the pension contribution.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:21 am:

    - City Zen -

    Chicago Sun Times, March 7th, 2019…

    ===Illinois families making more than $1 million a year would see their state income tax rate rise three percentage points — a 60 percent increase in the rate — and those earning up to $100,000 a year would see their rate drop a fraction of a percentage point, a dip of 1 percent.

    And some of those in the middle — families making more than $250,001 a year — would see the income made past that amount be taxed from the current 4.95 percent levied on all taxpayers to 7.75 percent.===

    Questions?


  11. - City Zen - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:22 am:

    ==They both get a tax break from the current flat tax.==

    Fantastic. Then no harm in posing that question.

    ==Yes, a family making $100,000 would pay the same taxes as a family making $100,000. The problem?==

    So one person making the same amount as two people combined pay and the same tax rate is not a problem? Fantastic. Then no harm in posing that question.


  12. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:23 am:

    Lol @ Tillman. “I liked it better when it was my billionaire doing all the bullying”. It’s a good thing the guy’s an ideologue, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to look at himself in the mirror.


  13. - Typical - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:24 am:

    How about a new CapFax rule that allows readers to comment on ads placed by the Illinois Policy Institute? There’s “so much to unpack” in each and every one of their posts.


  14. - Bothanspy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:25 am:

    Is that tax of Medicaid providers a real thing? That seems to really target the poorer population as likely some providers will pull out of the program due to the already low reimbursement rates.


  15. - City Zen - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:27 am:

    What Would The IRS Do? What Would California Do?

    Not sure why everyone is defending the lack of married tax brackets.

    I can get onboard the JB Train. Double the brackets for married couples.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:27 am:

    - City Zen -

    If you’re just trolling, that’s cool. Admitting it is helpful, lol

    To the Post,

    You can’t, mathematically, decide that consolidation AND pension shifting to local schools will work… because the prong where property taxes can also be lowered is immediately flawed to how those consolidated districts PAY… the local share.

    The IPI counts on cluelessness.


  17. - Skeptic - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:30 am:

    “Then no harm in posing that question.” It’s empty, meaningless rhetoric, but true, there’s no harm in it.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:31 am:

    ===What Would The IRS Do? What Would California Do?

    Not sure why everyone is defending the lack of married tax brackets.===

    We’re not. Keep up

    You bemoan that married couples are paying more.

    Everyone not making $250K, married or not, are not seeing an increase in their income tax.

    You continually ignore that, in your self-admitted trolling, to get attention.

    If you can’t learn after being reminded constantly… then again, pensions, unions, it’s the same with you, lol


  19. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:33 am:

    –Tillman is intentionally misleading his readers for political gain.–

    Don’t forget the money. The grift is the thing.

    And the troncs give him the forum to spread obvious lies that their own reporters could rebut in a minute. Standards for facts and accuracy, out the window.

    The tronc editorial board is the print version of the Fox News prime-time lineup.


  20. - Typical - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:34 am:

    Does the IPI think legalizing sports betting is a tax hike or not?

    In a May 2019 article, they say that “Illinois can spend another $10b on infrastructure without tax hikes” and in there they include $136 million per year in revenue from sports betting as funding. So it’s not a tax hike?

    Now, in a tweet to misinform voters and demean Pritzker, it lumped in as a tax hike?

    Which is it?


  21. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:37 am:

    “I can get onboard the JB Train. Double the brackets for married couples.”

    If only the ILGOP chose to be negotiating partners instead of unanimous opponents, there might be bracket adjustments for votes.


  22. - lakeside - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:43 am:

    ==The grift is the thing.==

    Exactly. I don’t understand why the media - looking at the Tribsters in particular - aren’t more hesitant to be so obviously used.


  23. - City Zen - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    ==If only the ILGOP chose to be negotiating partners instead of unanimous opponents, there might be bracket adjustments for votes.==

    Finally, we agree on something.


  24. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    – our new bully billionaire governor –

    Not exactly a John Wayne type, if Pritzker strikes you as a bully.

    You could probably grow weed indoors with the power of Tillman’s night light.


  25. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    ===night light===

    More like a gaslight.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    ===Finally, we agree on something.===

    We can’t help your willful ignorance or trolling, lol

    You want to compare apples to a dump truck, and ignore how the tax is being used.

    That’s on you.


  27. - illinois_citizen - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 10:57 am:

    Income tax for 97% of Illinois citizens would go down in the fair tax (what we are told) any income tax savings will be lost with the doubling the gas tax and additional vehicle registration fees etc. that Mr. Pritzger proposes.


  28. - Boone's is Back - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:02 am:

    Tilman lost any kind of credibility after his little symbiosis with the Rauner administration.

    That being said, I think when the argument gets framed as “what exactly are we getting for the tax and fee increases?” it becomes a lot more compelling.

    In all seriousness, the fair tax does not seem like any kind of long term solution to the structural problems that the state faces. I think more people would be on board if they didn’t feel like some additional tax increase won’t be needed again five years down the road.


  29. - Merica - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:04 am:

    I have a big problem with raising taxes AND having the revenue go to something other than pensions.

    We have a $135B state employee pension deficit and a $180B downstate police and fire pension deficit, during the largest economic expansion in our nations history.

    That expansion won’t last forever, and when we have a downturn or recession, those pension numbers will get much worse and our ability to pay will become more difficult.


  30. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:07 am:

    –I don’t understand why the media - looking at the Tribsters in particular - aren’t more hesitant to be so obviously used.–

    The tronc edit board isn’t being used, they’re willing and enthusiastic partners in the IPI grift. Again, facts and accuracy are not relevant to its standards.


  31. - Skeptic - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    ===Finally, we agree on something.===
    So it’s not all Madigan’s fault after all.


  32. - City Zen - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    ==any income tax savings will be lost with the doubling the gas tax and additional vehicle registration fees etc==

    You’re not allowed to read ahead.


  33. - pool boy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:43 am:

    What is the definition of fair? Equal treatment for all or differential treatment set by a group of individuals. Just call this what it really is, a progressive tax. Since it doesn’t affect 97% it is fair. What if it didn’t affect 51%, it would still be fair, but a lot more people would think it is less fair.


  34. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:43 am:

    The progressive tax will not effect many, it is JB’s other taxes that are going to hit the poor and middle class.


  35. - Mama - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:46 am:

    Do you support or oppose the Fair Tax plan?

    Yes

    We have a lot of bills that need to be paid, and a lot of people need work. Once the state finances are in better shape, property taxes can be reduced as the state can pay a bigger share of school funding.


  36. - Fixer - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:46 am:

    IPI- where the numbers are made up and facts don’t matter.


  37. - Hamlet's Ghost - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:50 am:

    The tronc and IPI endgame has been clear for at least a decade - reduce pay & benefits for teachers, firefighters, police and other state workers.

    Everything else needs to be seen from that perspective


  38. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:53 am:

    =Maybe once the local school districts start picking up the costs of the pensions and realize they are unsustainable, the districts would stop picking up the employee share of the pension contribution.=

    No and no.

    We will just raise property taxes to pay our obligations.


  39. - Mama - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 11:55 am:

    Can someone explain to me why the gas tax needs to be “doubled”? Why not 25% increase?

    This double gas tax increase will force more people to buy Eclectic or Hybrid Cars/ SUVs.


  40. - mana - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:00 pm:

    =Maybe once the local school districts start picking up the costs of the pensions and realize they are unsustainable, the districts would stop picking up the employee share of the pension contribution.= Like that will help in recruiting more students to become teachers. Hello… IL needs more teachers not less.

    The benefits help secure teachers jobs. Without the benefits of health and pensions no one would become a teacher.


  41. - Sue - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:25 pm:

    Sad that even with the proposed hike in the income tax whether 3.2/3 or 2.5 billion- the impact on pension funding is gonna be limited. Why can’t the Dems just be honest and admit absent massive tax increases on all strata of taxpayers- the pensions just wont have sufficient funds to honor the commitments. Pritzker is offering a bandaid


  42. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:29 pm:

    The Democrats and their union allies endgame has been clear for at least a decade - defer substantial pay & benefits for teachers, firefighters, police and other state workers to be paid by the next generation because we can’t afford to pay them out of current tax revenue we are collecting.

    Everything else needs to be seen from that perspective

    No one would become a teacher without platinum health care and pension benefits?

    The 34 states that pay their teachers less than Illinois seem to be able to employ teachers

    https://247wallst.com/special-report/2018/05/15/states-paying-teachers-most-and-least/5/


  43. - A Jack - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:31 pm:

    Vehicle registration fees in Illinois are already higher than neighboring states. It is hard to imagine that doubling registration fees will encourage more people to move to Illinois.


  44. - Sue - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    Lucky Pierre- the logic of your argument as to passing on the costs of pensions to the local districts so they better feel the cost of the benefit is completely wrong BECAUSE the State not the districts mandate the pension benefits


  45. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:42 pm:

    ===No one would become a teacher without platinum health care and pension benefits?

    The 34 states that pay their teachers less than Illinois seem to be able to employ teachers===

    … and yet places like Arizona and West Virginia, two “Red” bent states had teacher strikes…

    Salaries and benefits were amongst the complaints.

    The angst against teachers?

    Then there’s the “teachers aren’t teaching, we need better teachers”

    Its usually the wealthy districts leading the way to steal good teachers… by better benefits and higher salaries.

    lol


  46. - Generic Drone - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    The only state employees who get automatic pay raises are legislators. Regular employees have been made pawns and had wages frozen.


  47. - Batavia Joe - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:43 pm:

    So the state has raised income tax twice in 10 years and has not solved our pension nightmare. Are you that gullible to think that this one will do the trick? Expenditures are not going down, and as soon as the flat tax is repealed, all you families making $100k will have your rates increased. My goodness, can’t you see that? If not, you clearly did not get the public education you paid for.


  48. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 2:31 pm:

    –My goodness, can’t you see that? If not, you clearly did not get the public education you paid for.–

    I guess if no one will say that you’re smarter than everyone else, you have to announce it yourself.


  49. - City Zen - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 2:34 pm:

    ==So the state has raised income tax twice in 10 years==

    Once (net)

    ==all you families making $100k will have your rates increased.==

    That’s a feature, not a bug.


  50. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    === ==all you families making $100k will have your rates increased.==

    That’s a feature, not a bug.===

    Only folks making over $250K will see an increase.

    Chicago Sun Times, March 7th, 2019…

    ===Illinois families making more than $1 million a year would see their state income tax rate rise three percentage points — a 60 percent increase in the rate — and those earning up to $100,000 a year would see their rate drop a fraction of a percentage point, a dip of 1 percent.

    And some of those in the middle — families making more than $250,001 a year — would see the income made past that amount be taxed from the current 4.95 percent levied on all taxpayers to 7.75 percent.===

    I’m guessing willful ignorance for both? Yes? No?

    Yes.


  51. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 2:40 pm:

    ===So the state has raised income tax twice in 10 years and has not solved our pension nightmare.===

    … and yet it was Pat Quinn who made all the pension payments.


  52. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    ===the state has raised income tax twice in 10 years and has not solved===

    You cannot possibly be that profoundly stupid. The second vote in 2017 was to restore the tax to where it had been in 2014.


  53. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 2:46 pm:

    === ==So the state has raised income tax twice in 10 years==

    Once (net)===

    Yep, Governor-Elect Rauner supported that repealing, it made it easier to run up more debt, not pay vendors, and hold the state hostage;

    “I’ll give you the chance to vote for a tax increase… after you take down prevailing wage and collective bargaining”


  54. - City Zen - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    ==I’m guessing willful ignorance for both?==

    Is there room under your bridge for me?

    I presumed when the OP said “will have”, he meant the possibility of 11% of the taxpayers having the highest tax rate in their income bracket increased was high. Considering the small percentage of tax filers, along with the sizable rate gap between the $100K and $250K brackets, I agreed. Feature, not bug.


  55. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    ===Is there room under your bridge for me?===

    It’s union made, so… :)

    ===…he meant the possibility of 11% of the taxpayers having the highest tax rate in their income bracket increased was high.===

    Huh?

    What does this even mean?

    Your willful ignorance that… everyone below $250k… will NOT see a tax increase…

    You may be spinning yourself silly to seem…

    Maybe your willful ignorance is the feature?


  56. - Chicagonk - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 5:08 pm:

    I personally have no problem with the general revenue tax increases, but why is there never any pain for the trades in this state? Between the prevailing wage laws, the lockbox amendment, and now the proposed regressive tax structure on vehicle owners, it’s clear to me where the state legislatures priorities are. All the social services that were shut down during the budget impasse and the one thing that broke the impasse was the threat that the trades wouldn’t have work for the summer.


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