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I cannot for the life of me understand why people do this

Wednesday, Jul 8, 2020

* 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

* Transcript

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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

49 Comments
  1. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    Here’s the question that I’d like to ask Guebert and those arguing against the fair tax, “Is raising income taxes on the highest 3% of income earners a better choice than raising taxes on everyone?”


  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 1:48 pm:

    === 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.===

    LOL…

    Remember, it’s the 3% who will face an increase.

    Dunno why lying about the situation makes it better, but if your gonna to feign “oh no, it’s not me” when it is you… that’s pretty sad to the honesty of the cause.


  3. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 1:50 pm:

    Caught that on the news last time, and the look on Guebert’s face was priceless (banned punctuation).


  4. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    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.


  5. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    Q. Are you lying through your teeth?

    A. Not this time…

    (Follow up question)

    Q. Are you sure?

    A. Um, No.


  6. - Scott Fawell's Cellmate - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    (me munching popcorn) D@mn…Maxwell is a stone cold assassin…


  7. - very old soil - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 1:54 pm:

    I am sure he can find a way to lose 50K on the farm operation.


  8. - 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.


  9. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:06 pm:

    Maxwell should have asked him what methods he would personally be using to avoid paying this tax and when he planned on leaving the state.

    I’d take the gig. Sounds pretty sweet and pays a good penny. I’d even pay every bit of state tax owed on the salary.


  10. - Professor - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:06 pm:

    Maxwell is good. I ask him to address my students in a course I teach because he is an example of a reporter that thinks, something I try to instill in future reporters.


  11. - Morningstar - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:08 pm:

    Maybe people who earn $300k and up don’t bother to know how much they earn. They can pay someone to know that for them. /s


  12. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:10 pm:

    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?


  13. - Nagidam - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:10 pm:

    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…


  14. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:11 pm:

    Also, $250 tax cut is a cup of coffee? The ads against this group write themselves.


  15. - Arock - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:12 pm:

    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?


  16. - dbk - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:14 pm:

    Wouldn’t it be cool if Mark Maxwell was a member of the White House Press Corps?


  17. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:14 pm:

    === 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.

    It’s priceless and pathetic… at the same time.


  18. - M - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:14 pm:

    It sounds like they are planning to brainwash the poor to vote against themselves again.


  19. - Anonanonsir - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    Without the fair tax they will likely hike the income tax by a percentage point.
    So there’s a strong case that if you make, say, $350K or less, with the proposed fair tax you will probably pay less.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    === 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.===

    LOL…

    When?

    Not 2021, gotta see what the numbers look like.

    Not 2022, it’s an election year, sorry,

    So, 2023? Not likely, new districts, which 60 and 30 will vote for that?

    Maybe 2024? Election year, new districts, even a presidential turnout year…

    So when is this vote to change these brackets coming?

    Where’s your 60 and 30, or 71 and 36 to override a veto?


  21. - Sensitive Nancy - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:20 pm:

    Fortunately for the rich, their taxes are only going up by 6 cups of coffee.


  22. - It's not me . . . - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:21 pm:

    Leave it to Richard Guebert, of the IL Factory Farm Bureau, to lie through his teeth. Nothing new here.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:29 pm:

    Richard Guebert, Illinois Farm Bureau, made north of $300,000.

    That’s all I learned by that interview.

    Dunno if I’d classify that as “winning“.


  24. - Jocko - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:32 pm:

    ==the middle class will see their tax rate raised as well==

    If I’m being asked to choose between later (fair tax passes) and now (if it doesn’t)…I choose later.


  25. - Lynn S. - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:56 pm:

    I’m predicting someone’s going to use this interview in a direct mailer or add:

    The president of the Illinois Farm Bureau makes $25k/month.

    Do you?

    He doesn’t want to pay more in income taxes, but he’s happy to raise your taxes.

    Vote “Yes” for the Fair Tax Amendment.
    ___________

    And I’d mail it to every census tract with an average annual income of $100k or less.

    Because that’s a lot of voters seeing this.

    (I have no doubt someone will figure out how to blast this across social media, just not me.)


  26. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 2:57 pm:

    Graduated income tax rates have clearly wiped out farming in Iowa.


  27. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    === I’m predicting someone’s going to use this interview in a direct mailer or ad===

    Concur.

    “When they say it’s not about protecting the wealthy 3%, think of Richard Guebert of Illinois Farm Bureau.

    When asked if he’s part of the 3%, Guebert lied, Richard Guebert of Illinois Farm Bureau earned over $300,000 and said it’s not about him or his taxes.

    Don’t be fooled. The 3% will do anything to make you pay more, and keep their taxes down”

    I’m just spitballing, of course, but Richard Guebert of the Illinois Farm Bureau is now the poster child of the 3%… and doesn’t want anyone to know?


  28. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 3:03 pm:

    “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.”

    And on the other side are groups that derive a direct financial benefit from any tax hike. Same as it ever was.


  29. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 3:07 pm:

    “Okay… So you caught us… We lied about whether this would affect us personally — but everything else we’re saying about the graduated income tax proposal is super-real and for-true‼”

    – MrJM


  30. - Lynn S. - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 3:10 pm:

    Just watched the video.

    Dude makes just over $26k a month.

    I don’t think he understands how many people make $13/hour, 2000 hours each year, earn that much.

    And decent odds those $13/hour folks are raising a kid or two.

    I’m not saying he has to resign. (Although,if I were a member of Farm Bureau, I’d start agitating to cut his salary down to $120-150k/year. What are my dues paying for??)

    But I do think it might be best for him to come down with a case of laryngitis that lasts until at least November 10, 2020.


  31. - twowaystreet - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 3:10 pm:

    Had an old boss tell me when I make more money I would understand why he opposed the graduate income tax and then went on tell me that a $250K salary “wasn’t that much money.”

    There’s an easy fix to that one, pay me more so I can relate… I wasn’t asking for that much, right?


  32. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 3:16 pm:

    If Richard Guebert thinks fibbing about what he makes at the Illinois Farm Bureau, which is north of $300,000 is helpful…

    … how does membership feel about his response?

    Was he unaware it would effect him?

    That’s not great, someone out of touch with his own situation.

    He was aware but was misleading?

    You want that kind of leadership at the mic and podium?

    You’d *think* the Illinois Farm Bureau would deserve better…


  33. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    Mark Maxwell is the real deal…knew it when he wouldn’t let our Governor pay for his lemonade at the State Fair.


  34. - BFCBCB - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 3:31 pm:

    Why is Mark Maxwell still working in Springfield? Get this cold blooded assassin a job in a major market.


  35. - d.p.gumby - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 3:50 pm:

    Selfishness, cluelessness, and greed….As my farmer father used to say about farmers: “The say get the government of my back…where’s my support check?”


  36. - Linus - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 3:52 pm:

    Another good job by Maxwell.

    Of the several farmers in my family, not one has ever come close to earning $250K. Closer to bankruptcy, maybe.


  37. - Lynn S. - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 3:59 pm:

    @ d.p.gumby,

    And don’t forget, they oppose FEMA and other emergency aid.

    Until a tornado storms through the town where they sell their grain. Or a flood covers their fields.

    Then it’s, “Where’s my check? And why isn’t the Army Corps of Engineers taking care of this? When’s the state or the Federal Highway Administration going to fix the roads and bridges?”


  38. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 4:06 pm:

    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.


  39. - 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….


  40. - Lynn S. - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 4:35 pm:

    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?


  41. - 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.


  42. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 6:36 pm:

    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.


  43. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 6:36 pm:

    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.).


  44. - SAP - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 6:46 pm:

    Good job by Maxwell both for the follow up and for doing his homework ahead of time


  45. - Chatham Resident - Wednesday, Jul 8, 20 @ 8:28 pm:

    ==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.


  46. - BOOM Shaka - Thursday, Jul 9, 20 @ 8:38 am:

    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?


  47. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 9, 20 @ 8:47 am:

    === 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?===

    Unless *you* plan on paying more taxes, yourself… this is a self own.

    Good luck.


  48. - Lynn S. - Thursday, Jul 9, 20 @ 10:27 am:

    @ Cool Papa Bell,

    Rereading this in the morning:

    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.


  49. - Cool Papa Bell - Thursday, Jul 9, 20 @ 12:10 pm:

    A starting point to examine the income of farms and farmers in IL.

    https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/AgCensus/2017/Full_Report/Volume_1,_Chapter_1_State_Level/Illinois/

    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?

    I appreciate this conversation.


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