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Another group gears up for battle to pass Pritzker’s “Fair Tax”

Monday, Apr 6, 2020

* My Crain’s Chicago Business column

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is planning to spend untold millions to support his graduated income tax proposal this year via his Vote Yes For Fairness ballot initiative committee.

But another group has formed to help with the effort. The Vote Yes for Fair Tax committee has reported raising almost $600,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to date.

A few years ago, a ballot initiative committee with almost $600,000 in the bank several months ahead of a vote would be a sign of strength. In these times, with a billionaire governor who succeeded a near-billionaire governor, it looks almost small.

But the Vote Yes for Fair Tax committee won’t be running expensive TV ads, says its chairman, John Bouman of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law. “This is more of the sort of sweat-equity, grassroots, community-based ground game” approach, he says.

The organization’s largest contributor to date (at $250,000) is the National Education Association, which has thousands of members here. The Illinois Federation of Teachers has kicked in $100,000. AFSCME Illinois Council 31, with tens of thousands of members, has contributed $50,000 in cash so far and donated the time of two staffers. SEIU Healthcare, which also has tens of thousands of members here, contributed $50,000 in cash and $10,000 for access to Voter File data, and donated the time of two staffers.

I’ve detected some worry among Pritzker types that this other group could go off-script and weaken the overall message.

Click here to read the rest before commenting, please. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 11:27 am:

    === I’ve detected some worry among Pritzker types that this other group could go off-script and weaken the overall message.===

    That’s truly the only real fear, and given the climate right now with “haves and have nots” in health care.

    The rationale is focusing on that 3%, and the 97% feeling no increase.

    Any other “outside messaging” could be damaging to a healthy universe to win this vote.


  2. - JB13 - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 11:29 am:

    Everyone has their own priorities…


  3. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 11:29 am:

    Crain’s has paywall up.


  4. - Annonin' - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 11:37 am:

    Yikes SpankyBaise will really be sad. But he’ll collect his fees.
    Meanwhile we must ask Mr/Ms OW if he could predict how many “have nots” will be offended if “haves” get roughed up in messaging?


  5. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 11:42 am:

    - Annonin‘ -

    Please, it’s just ole OW, no formality.

    === how many “have nots” will be offended if “haves” get roughed up in messaging?===

    The worry *should* be about the passage threshold, not who could or would be offended.

    It’s not jus a majority that can get this passed.

    If it were to play out 50% + 1, I’d probably feel far different.

    Stay safe - Annonin’ -


  6. - NotRich - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 11:42 am:

    If we are still in a recession heading into November this tax vote could be in trouble… scared people vote quite differently


  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 11:45 am:

    - Annonin’ -

    I’d guess I’d also add, if it can gin up turnout and stretch plurality enough, the worry wanes.

    A lot to ask for a CA ballot question


  8. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    ==organization’s largest contributor to date (at $250,000) is the National Education Association==

    Finally, some swamp money.


  9. - Back to the Future - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 11:56 am:

    So subscribe. We need to support our newspapers.
    As to the column, I like the idea of a grass roots effort that is proposed by this group. That kind of effort will get more people involved in the process and that is a good thing,
    As far as having the Governor as the “face” of the effort, I really think that would be a mistake. The fair tax has merit and can stand on it’s own.
    November is a long way off, but I doubt if Gov. JB’s approval or popularity will be above 40%- - he will end up being the center of criticism for opponents of the change.
    The argument that 97% of taxpayer will get a reduction or stay the same is built around statements the Governor uses. A Governor at 40% in approval is not going to help pass this idea.
    Instead of a ‘where’s mine” pitch using the 3% vs. 97% that voters will not believe, I think a campaign built on the idea that a progressive tax is a better idea than a flat tax has a far better chance of getting voters to make this change.


  10. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 12:35 pm:

    Interesting to look at the contributions. The vast majority of the donations are union employees. The largest group are teachers. Who stands to gain by this tax increase, teachers. Their constant complaint is that they are underpaid. They fully expect that money to schools will increase as tax revenues increase. Too bad the majority of Illinois citizens won’t see that.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    === Too bad the majority of Illinois citizens won’t see that.===

    Polling indicates a majority of voters support the fair tax.

    Keep up.

    The question is… will the percentage equal approval come election time.

    You know that, your alternative facts notwithstanding.


  12. - OpentoDiscussion - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    Any person who is in favor or against this tax should put their ‘face on it.’

    Stand up and be counted.

    Certainly won’t see many Presidential ads this Fall as Illinois is Deep Blue at the national level and no party needs to waste their money.

    But I would not be surprised to see a lot of media ads on this issue.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 12:44 pm:

    === Any person who is in favor or against this tax should put their ‘face on it.’

    Stand up and be counted.===

    You against secret ballot too, LOL

    === But I would not be surprised to see a lot of media ads on this issue.===

    The governor will not be outspent.


  14. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 12:46 pm:

    Interesting to look at who benefits.

    http://www.chicagomag.com/city-life/April-2019/Pritzkers-Fair-Tax-Is-a-Sweet-Deal-for-Southern-Illinois/
    And
    https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-jb-pritzker-graduated-income-tax-who-pays-20190722-u6hulxf2jbg47o7n3i7d3b5bii-story.html


  15. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    ==Their constant complaint is that they are underpaid.==

    Many of them are. I love when people complain about what others make. If you have that complaint you should have the guts to say what salary you believe is fair. Put up or shut up.


  16. - OpentoDiscussion - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:12 pm:

    =You against secret ballot too, LOL=

    As usual, not funny and not relevant to this matter.

    =The governor will not be outspent.=

    I have no doubt.


  17. - Annonin - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:15 pm:

    OW…we appreciate folo up. The margin continues to be challenging. But I am doubting multiple messages do any harm there. Meanwhile we should be trying to boost incomes so we can pay this “Fair Tax” We know we are.


  18. - OpentoDiscussion - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:16 pm:

    Interesting I still have not seen the actual language of this proposed amendment. It’s been in the news for months and it gets a fair amount of media attention.

    Supposedly we will see it in May but why has it taken so long on such an important issue?

    Any relevant thoughts and has anyone seen the amendment language?


  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:24 pm:

    === As usual, not funny and not relevant to this matter.===

    Its hysterically pathetic you “need to know”.

    Per usual, your take is “misunderstood”… lol

    === Interesting I still have not seen the actual language of this proposed amendment.===

    Is it May?

    Are you usually this ignorant to things you already know, or only when you are a troll, pretending to be “thoughtful”?

    Like this…

    === Supposedly we will see it in May but why has it taken so long on such an important issue?===

    Being a concerned troll, is a troll ALL the same. “LOL”

    === Any relevant thoughts and has anyone seen the amendment language?===

    Again, you know it’s May.

    Go yell at the Tee-Vee weatherman at the end of the bar if it’ll help your concerned phony trolling.

    - Annonin’ -

    It’s all good.

    === But I am doubting multiple messages do any harm there.===

    Polling after ads might flesh all this out.

    Stay well.


  20. - SW - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:28 pm:

    I could not support the amendment before the virus and I surely cannot support it now. The budget needs as a result of the virus will change the dynamics of the tax structure. There is already a recognition there is an upper limit on the rate imposed on the “rich” due to their mobility, the lower income people don’t pay any tax now, so that leaves the middle class open for higher rates than proposed. Simply, the rationale for the amendment is out of date.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:33 pm:

    === There is already a recognition there is an upper limit on the rate imposed on the “rich” due to their mobility.===

    … and yet both Mr. Uihlein and Mr. Griffin are still here and further, the raised rates still are in line with neighboring states.

    === There is already a recognition there is an upper limit on the rate imposed on the “rich” due to their mobility, the lower income people don’t pay any tax now, so that leaves the middle class open for higher rates than proposed. Simply, the rationale for the amendment is out of date.===

    LOL…

    Saving the rich thoughts will help the amendment pass, so keep that logic.

    It will take 71, 36, and a governor’s signature to raise rates.

    Your pathetic and, well, sad attempt to seem thoughtful ignores the legislative realities and a signature… which you think is a slam dunk.

    “Ok, go with that”

    How many times has the income tax been raised in 30 years?


  22. - Samename - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:37 pm:

    SW, so, “budget needs” you mention will require more revenue. There is no solid data to show that the rich move because of taxes and a number of studies that show they move for other reasons than taxes. I think you could argue there is a greater need for the fair tax because of the pandemic.


  23. - OpentoDiscussion - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    I have said it before. If the tax hits you then one ‘might consider leaving.

    Many, many factors involved. How much extra would you be taxed? Is your profession or business tied to the state. If so, you stay. If not then certainly it will consider leaving and many will do so.

    Certainly it is not an incentive to come to Illinois.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:48 pm:

    === might===

    lol, concerned trolling. “Might”

    Let’s see the language in May. These groups supporting of opposing the CA have their reasons, the language won’t change their specific stances


  25. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:55 pm:

    ==the rationale for the amendment is out of date==

    I don’t think the rationale is out of date, but the rates and messaging might be.


  26. - bailbond - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:59 pm:

    Let’s say the virus is still a problem (or has a resurgence) in the fall, leading election officials to push for more voting by mail and causing some meaningful percentage of people to stay home. Do the experts think lower turnout hurts or helps an amendment like this? My gut is lower turnout hurts, since I think the “no” camp will have enthusiasm on its side. For GOP voters where the POTUS election is not competitive, they might be motivated to show up solely to vote “no.” Maybe the unlimited ad campaign for “yes” can change that.


  27. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 1:59 pm:

    === messaging===

    “save the rich” is arguably the worst messaging against it… ever.

    It’s so bad, when Mr. Baise was calling it a “millionaire tax”, the Pritzker crew not only agreed, they used it to help their side.

    Can’t stand watching bad baseball or bad politics. With no live baseball I’m spared the bad baseball (which I’d probably give anything for during this crisis) so I’m stuck with truly horrible takes to this CA, thinking the worrying of the rich is a smart play.


  28. - Pundent - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 2:15 pm:

    A ton will happen between now and November and who knows what the state of Covid-19 will be. We also haven’t seen the full campaign on either side rolled out. Raising taxes is not an option. It’s a question of how and on whom at this point.


  29. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 2:16 pm:

    The membership of the group can cause problems. Are the higher tax revenues going to solve state budget problems? Or are they simply going for higher wages for the favored groups?

    I think the state needs a lot more revenue. More even than the proposed increase will generate.

    I am not sure that pay scales need a big boost. That can be used against the Fair Tax.


  30. - Muddy trail - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 5:43 pm:

    ==Are the higher tax revenues going to solve state budget problems? Or are they simply going for higher wages for the favored groups?==
    I thought local school boards set the prices of the teachers. The state set a bottom wage of $32,076 for teachers for next fall.


  31. - Bruce - Monday, Apr 6, 20 @ 6:14 pm:

    It might not be so much about wage increases but perhaps preserving pensions or the ability to continue funding them at a subsistence level. Listening to Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker today I get the sense that they might be looking for a Federal bailout as well. Chicago can go BK. what happens to the State Constitution then?


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