* 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.
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