* The Center Square…
Pritzker said the proposed rates that would follow possible voter approval of a progressive income tax are fair because it would mean lower rates for most taxpayers.
“It’s only the top 2.7 or 3 percent that will pay a little more,” Pritzker said. “Addressing income inequality is very important.”
[Ideas Illinois Chairman Greg Baise] said addressing income inequality wasn’t in the governor’s job description. He said state government hasn’t proven it can wisely spend the money it collects now.
“The flat income tax in this state makes it a little more difficult for your elected representatives, who in the last ten years have raised taxes on taxpayers in Illinois and still we have all those other problems: State debt, property taxes and a pension deficit,” Base said.
The progressive tax rates are separate from the proposed amendment. If the flat tax is done away with and the constitution allows for tiered rates with higher rates on higher earners, state lawmakers could change the rates every year.
“What this argument is about is to give an opportunity for Springfield politicians to have an easier way to raise money when they need, for whatever particular pet project they happen to be wanting to get done in any particular year and this would open that door,” Baise said.
A governor’s “job description” is whatever he says it is within the confines of the constitutions and statutes.
But I do agree with Baise on his other point. It’s difficult for legislators to raise the flat tax because they’re increasing taxes on everyone. Just look at the last 20 years. Blagojevich wouldn’t go near an income tax hike, Quinn waited until he had safely won an election and when it was abundantly clear the state was drowning in red ink during a massive recession, Rauner refused to talk about it when the tax hike partially rolled back and taxes were only raised back up to almost the status quo ante when desperate Republicans crossed the aisle to override him.
It’s a whole lot easier to just jack up the rates on the top 3 percent.
…Adding… From a commenter…
It’s a way to raise the state’s income without going to people who are just getting by for more money. Yes, it’s easier on politicians, but it’s easier on politicians because it’s easier for their constituents. That’s kinda the whole point.
* David Borris: Fair Tax will help everyone, including our small businesses