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More Pritzker interviews

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020

* From Greg Hinz’s interview of Gov. Pritzker

In a phone interview, Pritzker referenced only in passing some of last year’s accomplishments, from raising the state’s minimum wage to enacting a $45 billion capital plan and strengthening abortion rights. He said he’ll begin year two by focusing on a bit of advice from one of his GOP predecessors, Jim Edgar, to enact a balanced state budget—in Pritzker’s case, for the second year in a row.

“We’ve got to keep on with our progress,” he said. “We’ve got a lot more to accomplish.” […]

The governor was a little more specific on his graduated income tax amendment, again dangling the possibility of guaranteeing that a greater share of the proceeds will go to pay off the state’s huge pension debt. Pritzker has offered $200 million a year, but in our chat said, “It could be more.” […]

The governor also indicated that Mayor Lori Lightfoot and he are in agreement on proposed legislation designed to revive a proposed Chicago casino. Lightfoot needs some of the revenue from the gambling center to pay pension costs, and Pritzker needs some for debt service on his capital plan. The two officials “have a common understanding” about what should be in the bill, but they’re not the only interested parties in the Capitol, Pritzker said.

That’s good news about the casino. Those two absolutely must be on the same page for this to have any chance.

* From Bernie’s interview of Gov. Pritzker

On property taxes, Republicans have complained that a task force on the issue hasn’t taken their ideas seriously.

“Many legislators on both sides regularly contact me to talk to me about their ideas for lowering property taxes,” Pritzker said, “so I have heard many of the ideas already.” He said he would be “happy to listen” to GOP proposals.

But, he said, he did a lot over the course of the year to alleviate the burden on local property taxes including raising state school funding. The pension consolidation bill for downstate police and fire pension systems also ultimately will save “billions of dollars,” he said. The savings are expected to come through better returns and less administrative costs when about 650 local pension funds are consolidated into two for investment purposes.

Despite some continued differences with Republicans, Pritzker said his ability to work with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle “probably stands in stark contrast to the national stage, and to my predecessor.” He was referring to President Donald Trump and former GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, whose battles with Democrats led to more than two years without a state budget in place.

The property tax burden is around $30 billion a year. He did a bit more than nibble around the edges, but lots more needs to be done.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 11:51 am:

    Pension changes ” … was cutting pension benefits for new employees of local governments and school districts … .” Any details how the GOP is going to do that and not run afoul of the Social Security restrictions? IF their plan is to close the pensions to newly hired employees, what is the replacement source for their contributions? In 2010, Bill Brady’s answer was to sell 50 year bonds. Is that Durkin’ answer?

  2. - Ebenezer - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    Property tax reform: (v.) the simple task of reducing property tax bills without reducing property tax revenue.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 12:16 pm:

    === But, he said, he did a lot over the course of the year to alleviate the burden on local property taxes including raising state school funding.===

    The funding of K-12 education by the state is a huge domino, not only to local property taxes but to pensions.

    The way Illinois looks today, and in the future, at that funding could very well change this state.

    That’s $30 billion in a property tax burden. I would welcome more work in this area.

  4. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 12:28 pm:

    “On property taxes, Republicans have complained that a task force on the issue hasn’t taken their ideas seriously.“

    If they want to cut pensions (while unanimously opposing the richest paying a higher state income tax), what could they expect?

  5. - Quibbler - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    We have a “task force” for property taxes, and all kinds of other issues. It’s called the General Assembly, and if Republicans want to be “taken seriously” they can win a few elections first. Failing that, the Pritzker administration should give as much shrift to GOP ideas on taxation as the electorate seems to.

  6. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 7:57 pm:

    He did a little more than nibble around the edges. Not trying to be cute or snarky, but this confuses me.

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