* Mark Maxwell interviewed Richard Guebert of the Illinois Farm Bureau after yesterday’s simultaneous press conferences called to oppose the governor’s graduated income tax proposal. Watch starting at the :50 mark…
Mark Maxwell, WCIA : Right now, Governor Pritzker and the House and Senate Democratic plan would start out by raising taxes only on the top 3 percent of income earners in Illinois. Those are people who earn more than $250,000 a year. It just so happens that some of the people speaking at these press conferences today fall into that category.
Richard Guebert, Illinois Farm Bureau: Those in that 3 percent tax bracket are gonna figure out a way not to pay the taxes and they have the resources to do that. And probably they may even leave the state.
Maxwell: Wouldn’t it raise your taxes?
Guebert: No. Not this, not under this proposal, it would not. But…
Maxwell: The 2018 990s for the Farm Bureau show that you make north of $300,000. [Image of the IFB’s 990 disclosure flashes on screen.]
Guebert: Um. Yes.
Maxwell: So wouldn’t this raise your taxes?
Guebert: Yes, it would.
Look, it’s no crime to make three hundo a year. Just cop to it. The extra tax he’d have to pay on income above $250K is pretty small anyway.
Follow-up questions have become a lost art with too many reporters. Maxwell would not be one of those reporters.
Also, farmers can’t just pick up their land and head to Indiana.
Most farmers don’t make more than 250k. In fact, most farmers would rather pay 400k for new equipment vs 120k in taxes and eat bologna sandwiches instead of steak. Why? Wish I knew. But this issue affects them negligibly.
I am sure he can find a way to lose 50K on the farm operation.
- Bruce (no not him) - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:03 pm:
It becomes so ingrained to lie, that some can not stop when there is no reason to lie.
And, yes, most farmers will buy something to offset earnings for tax purposes. That’s why truck and equipment dealers love December.
A coordinated opposition rollout and they still couldn’t find a way to frame a message that resonates with the majority of Illinoisans who’s taxes would decrease under this proposal. What was the point of this presser, again?
I suppose someone with time on their hands will produce the average tax rates in progressive tax states along with the corresponding income levels. We know a fully enacted IL progressive tax does not raise enough money to wipe out the structural deficit. So the attack that rates will eventually go up is a valid one. My guess is the average tax rates and corresponding income levels are coming…
Put a guarantee in that when adjusted for inflation that people making under $250,000 a year will not see a tax increase down the road. We all know that sooner or later(and more than likely real soon) that the middle class will see their tax rate raised as well. The problem of State spending can not be solved by just taxing the 3%, this just opens the door for our representatives to do too many irresponsible things(even more than they have already done). They didn’t play honestly by the rules as it pertains to the Constitutional requirement for balance budgets, why would they be any more responsible now?
=== A coordinated opposition rollout and they still couldn’t find a way to frame a message that resonates with the majority of Illinoisans who’s taxes would decrease under this proposal. What was the point of this presser, again?===
… because showing the old, angry, and rural as opposed to having facts… is owning the libs.
The dumb thing about all of this is that it was a completely unforced error. Guebert could have said that he was advocating on behalf of the Farm Bureau organization and not taking a personal position. He didn’t have to lie about his salary. But once he did he made it about him and his credibility. I would expect a guy in his role making $300K would be a bit more savvy.
- Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 4:20 pm:
An odd thing about the IFB. Rich is also the President of Country Financial. So the $300 is to lead the FB but also duties for the insurance and financial company.
But if you have to explain it then your already losing….
Cool Papa Bell, thanks for speaking, but that brings up 2 more questions:
1. What are his actual job duties as president of Country Financial? Is he depositing premium checks, leading meetings, and talking to adjusters? Or is he more of a figurehead/public face?
2. If you don’t own a farm, you have to buy a membership in Farm Bureau to get Country Company’s insurance. How many farm bureau members are actually farmers, and how many are just insurance policy holders?
My dad owned a farm. We had Country Company’s insurance on it and our vehicles. But we haven’t farmed for almost 30 years, and my mom dumped Country Company’s insurance when she found a cheaper policy about 10 years ago.
My point is: I’m willing to bet $5 that greater than 70% of their membership is from policyholders who do not live on an active farm; 30% or less actively farming.
So who, really, does Farm Bureau speak for?
- Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 5:55 pm:
and 78,000 voting members out of more than 400,000. Now not all those folks are farmers but they are connected to the farm as maybe retired from active farming.
Never owned a farm but I had insurance through Country Companies fo 25 years. Never understood why I had to write that separate check to the Farm Bureau every year and what I got for it. I suspect that relationship significantly inflates the membership numbers.
Cool Papa Bell - “But if you have to explain it then your already losing… .”
Unfortunately, starting with Blago, people in state government have spent an unusual amount of time “explaining” to refute “neat ideas” (generally, how their budgetary resources aren’t needed by them, how they can be miraculously doubled, etc.).
==Unfortunately, starting with Blago, people in state government have spent an unusual amount of time “explaining” to refute “neat ideas” (generally, how their budgetary resources aren’t needed by them, how they can be miraculously doubled, etc.).==
With many of those “neat ideas” also brought to you by John Filan.
I’m not nearly as sophisticated as some of the commenters here, so please indulge me. Is there any process by which Illinois residents who feel that the tax rates in the state are too low could voluntarily pay more taxes themselves?
You say Farm Bureau has 78,000 voting members and 400,000 total members.
I’m assuming we both don’t work for Farm Bureau, so there’s data that neither of us have access to that might clarify some of my questions.
But my first question of the day is, are the 78,000 voting members actual farmers? Meaning, do they ride combines and load hogs to send to the slaughter house? Or are they shareholders in farming operations? (Meaning: they’re the family members who got a job off the farm, but still hold a piece of ground.)
How many of those 78,000 are landlords? Or, as Thomas Picketty defined them, rentiers?
It would be fascinating to get income on the mean and median incomes of those 78,000, and a percentage breakdown of sources. (W-2 wages and salaries, dividend and interest income, rental income.)
I’m willing to bet that if we could do this kind of research, some information might come out that Farm Bureau doesn’t want folks to know.
I am not accusing any farmers of illegal acts. I’m simply saying that we might find a very skewed income distribution between farming operations, and possibly some very interesting data on how much money coming out of the ground versus from interest, dividends, rents, and wages earned from punching a clock in the local town.
Secondly: of the 400,000, I’d be curious to find out how many live on a working farm, versus not on a farm. I.e., how many live in a town, versus a house on 1 or 2 or 5 acres. How many of those 400,000 grew up on a farm, or had grandparents who farmed? (Example: I grew up on a farm, my son is the grandson of farmers.)
I’m asking this, because I’m thinking of a beloved former coworker whose parents held white collar jobs, and they lived in a wealthier part of town. Co-worker would have been the grandson of farmers, at best, and possibly even further removed than that.
So, how many of the 400,000 are have a farmer in their immediate family, and how many are just with Country Companies because Country Companies offered them the cheapest insurance, and no one in their family has been a farmer for 3 or more generations? I’d be curious to see an income distribution on the 400,000, but don’t seek as detailed a breakdown regarding sources.
Long story short: I’d be surprised if less than 80% of Farm Bureau members derived their primary source of income from farming. I’m also willing to bet the 78,000, or a large portion thereof, are farmers earning higher than average incomes from their farming operations.
- Cool Papa Bell - Thursday, Jul 9, 20 @ 12:10 pm:
A starting point to examine the income of farms and farmers in IL.
To the 78,000 - I’d say those folks are a mix of current farmers, retired farmers with family that still farm an entity they are connected to, and farm land owners. FB has been trying to welcome in more small producers over the past few years - think folks that raise fruit and vegetable crops for farmers markets.
Farm income is a tricky biscuit. More than a few folks farm and have a city job and a spouse that works too. So a person that raises corn and soybeans, also sells insurance in a small town and their spouse is a teacher. All that income gets tossed into one bucket right? Sometimes that “off farm income” pays the freight of the farm for a few years when it gets lean. Some people farm BIG, some farm for the lifestyle and what it means to them and their family to still farm. So I understand your point here but income can be a hard thing to pin down.
I’d treat the 400,000 really as an insignificant number. They are largely people who own an insurance policy. Now they might be drawn to CF because of a connection to farming or that’s where dad got his policy (who farmed).
Of the 400k - I’d say a good number of them aren’t too far removed from the farm or a rural area. But many, many of us are more than 2 or 3 generations removed from the farm so those numbers are bound to be small.
And I’d say one more thing about the salary that Rich earns. I’m not so sure its out of line with with other heads of large lobby organizations earn in Illinois. Anyone bother to ask Todd Maisch what he pulls down each year? The head of the IMA or NIFB? This is a story because of Rich’s reaction but is what he’s paid out of line? Is is also because he “leads” a farm group and we think of farmers as a group of low earning hard working feeding the earth folks and not savvy business people who like making money as much as they do growing plants and animals?