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Guzzardi’s Fair Tax autopsy

Thursday, Dec 10, 2020

* Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) on why the Fair Tax did so poorly

“I think we didn’t communicate effectively with voters,” Guzzardi said. “We didn’t tell a clear story about why we needed the money and what we were going to spend it on to help people’s lives. I think we didn’t tell people where to find it on the ballot.

“We didn’t do a good job of pointing people in the right direction,” he added. “And we didn’t really start communicating with voters at all in a serious way. We let a year go by without campaigning at all on the question” after the General Assembly approved the progressive income tax in the spring of last year and passed the ballot initiative on to voters.

Most disturbing, however, was the way the anti-tax TV campaign bankrolled by billionaire Kenneth Griffin gained traction with voters on the issue of “trust” in government.

“I also think we have a credibility problem, a trust problem,” Guzzardi granted. “Illinois voters really responded to the ‘no’ messaging about this campaign. ‘You can’t trust Illinois Democrats with your money.’ And that’s a real problem for us. And it’s going to hinder our ability to solve the state’s challenges going forward. So that’s something we really have to take a hard look at.”

Yep. They had no real-world policy angle, they didn’t adequately inform voters about how to find it on the ballot, they didn’t start communicating at a time when the other side didn’t have any money and there is a serious trust problem which wasn’t adequately addressed with a forceful enough and early enough counter-response to turn voter anger in a different direction.

I’d also add that, like many policy solutions this governor has offered (cannabis legalization, for example), the plan itself was complicated, which allowed the other side to pick it apart.

* Back to Guzzardi

The “trust” issue resonated after that, even as the General Assembly has seen abundant turnover just in the last few elections. “Next year will be the beginning of my fourth term, and I’m going to be in the top third in seniority,” Guzzardi said, “so a ton of turnover.” Yet voters still bought the argument that they couldn’t trust Springfield, even as this General Assembly little resembles the legislature of 20 or 25 years ago.

Guzzardi explained, “Voters still see the same leadership at the top, and it looks to a lot of voters like Madigan’s been the speaker since time immemorial, so what’s really changed?”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

91 Comments
  1. - Peter Janko - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:11 pm:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.


  2. - Sue - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:11 pm:

    Doesn’t help that after 2 large tax increases- the State is still in bad fiscal shape even without the recent pandemic. Democrats have said twice before- trust us with more revenue and things will be better


  3. - NotRich - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:13 pm:

    when all else fails: because Madigan..


  4. - Jocko - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:15 pm:

    Also, (1) Mike Frerichs decided to play “what if?” out loud and (2) the anti-tax people traded in lies and misinformation.


  5. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:16 pm:

    I think OW has always had the correct answer here. The legislature should have proactively passed a flat tax increase to take affect if the flat tax failed. Then publicize it heavily.


  6. - Fav Human - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:17 pm:

    He was doing really well there until..

    Voters still see the same leadership at the top,

    No, they see the same BEHAVIOR as before.

    Pols pushing some new laws, then they (or their spouse) profit from that change.

    Closing, then “reopening” loopholes.

    I saw tons of ads for the Tax, and it seemed to be pretty much the SAME ad.

    I never saw a pro-tax ad that even addressed the trust issue.

    They left a huge hole, so they can’t be surprised that the other team ran through it all day long.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:20 pm:

    Arguably *the* most important… the cornerstone… of the next 2+ years of his administration..

    … and they let the other side dictate the playing field, the messaging, and sitting on $50+ millions… that’s $50+…. million… since July 3rd… they lost the time and money advantages by waiting… and without a clearer overwhelming message… they became the chasers. It was a colossal flop.

    The rest I’ll leave up to Guzzardi.


  8. - PublicServant - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:21 pm:

    === …the anti-tax people traded in lies and misinformation. ===

    Shocker coming from Griff and his toadies.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:22 pm:

    === Mike Frerichs decided to play “what if?”===

    1,000%

    The Frerichs Tax, the taxing retirement income was a terribly damaging thing.

    The Frerichs Tax should haunt Frerichs in 2022, as Mike Frerichs stands tall to the discussion of taxing retirement income.


  10. - Mama - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:23 pm:

    The mistrust has nothing to do with the leadership. Most people don’t know who their leaders are in the legislature. The Republican’s ads caused a lot of fear in the voters, and they played their fears card hard and often. Most people don’t trust any politician, and they hate paying taxes.


  11. - City Zen - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:26 pm:

    “I also think we have a credibility problem, a trust problem”

    I went to a Fair Tax town hall back in 2019. My local legislators admitted trust was an issue. Yet they spent the next year ignoring the issue.

    How do you build trust? Offer guarantees. If voters think rates are going up on everyone once this passed, guarantee a tax free for 5-10 years. Voters fear you’ll tax retirement income? Include that in the legislation. Never going to tax retirement income? Add that clause in the state constitution and be done with it once and for all.

    Our legislature is populated with former attorneys. I’m sure they could have figured it out. Instead they chose to ride it out. And lost.


  12. - Funtimes - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:27 pm:

    Bingo Fav Human. It know it is hard for Will to understand, but the lack of trust in the fiscal competence of any Illinois state-level elected official is zero. In both parties. Because what does not change is the behavior, the fiscal trajectory of the state, regardless of who sits in which desks in the capital building or governor’s mansion. And that lack of trust is well earned. You want that to change? Then both cut spending and increase taxes, and make sure every dime freed up revenue from both goes to paying down the pensions. Until that happens, the voters of this state have every reason to distrust those elected to serve in Springfield.


  13. - walker - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:28 pm:

    “”…traded in lies and misinformation.”"

    Sad to say, that’s a given in any significant political campaign. If it’s not the candidates themselves, it’s other interested parties. A constant factor that must be overcome to win.


  14. - beanjimp - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:30 pm:

    And nothing here about the topic brought up in every conversation with people opposed to this - pension reform. It was all about revenue and no mention of the biggest driver to current and future deficits. A lot of people, myself included, would have voted for this if paired with a pension language amendment. That goes to the heart of the trust issue.


  15. - James the Intolerant - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:34 pm:

    Not sure of the mechanics, but they needed to pass an across the board tax increase as the option if it failed. Instead people voted on raise tax vs. no raised tax


  16. - :) - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:35 pm:

    The Governors, and Guzzardi and company are the problem. They have a trust and a credibility problem. And trying to blame others for their shortcomings is about the only thing they’re consistent on.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:36 pm:

    === pension reform===

    That’s Tier 2.

    === A lot of people, myself included, would have voted for this if paired with a pension language amendment===

    1) there’s no 71 and 36 for that. Find that, and it’s only for “going forward” (Strike one)

    2) the ILSC has already made clear, what’s owed is owed, the need is to pay off the debt (Strike two)

    3) if you can’t understand 1) and 2) you weren’t going to vote for the Fair Tax anyway (Strike three)

    Now taxes on everyone will go up, including you.

    You showed them… “because pensions” … and lacking the understanding to this issue.


  18. - The Dude - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:36 pm:

    beanjimp

    On the opposite side of things I would have voted no if it would have included that.


  19. - Montrose - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:41 pm:

    I agree with Guzzardi on all points. I have heard from multiple folks since it failed that they did not realize that there would be budget cuts if there wasn’t new revenue. I feel like way too much energy was put into the need for “fairness” vs. the need for the revenue. The opposition recognized scaring people is a good motivator. The Fair Tax crew should have realized that as well.

    I also think there was a failure to recognize how the pandemic changed the dynamics. It felt as though the game plan that was settle on at the beginning was never revisited once we went from economic boom times to economic crisis.


  20. - Red Line - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:41 pm:

    Despite the legislation written for the amendment’s passage, the amendment language was simply too open ended. The fact that they wrote the language so broadly called into question their true intentions.


  21. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    Nothing about real estate taxes. Cut them and tie it tightly to income tax. Ever hear anything from committee on property tax relief. No way n heck would I trust them on a graduated income tax


  22. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    They never explained what the money was for. If you explain why you need the money taxpayers are likely to approve it. They just assumed “tax the rich” was a sufficient message and that was lazy on their part.


  23. - Somewhere Downstate - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    Takes a long time to build up trust, and just one “we swear - SWEAR - this is a TOTALLY TEMPORARY tax hike” to break what little you have built up.


  24. - BulfrogVino - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    Yup. That is an extremely accurate synopsis. Not sure how they could have addressed the trust angle as that will take time.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:44 pm:

    === Nothing about real estate taxes.===

    Explain in detail the state’s role in income taxes.

    Thanks.


  26. - pool boy - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:46 pm:

    Trust issue. If you want to build trust,”City Zen” hit the nail on the head.


  27. - RH - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:48 pm:

    Well maybe it’s time for a tier three. We cannot tax our way out of this mess.


  28. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:49 pm:

    === Well maybe it’s time for a tier three. We cannot tax our way out of this mess.===

    Narrator: the money is still owed.


  29. - Dooooooooode - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:49 pm:

    Read your autopsy again very carefully then look in the mirror… you still don’t get it.


  30. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:50 pm:

    They should have hit the class conflict points harder. It was really a choice between raising taxes on the rich and raising taxes on everyone. These points aren’t as obvious when the bourgeoisie are running the campaign.


  31. - Todd - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:51 pm:

    Yea trust is an issue, Why? Well lets just look at the small things like the FOID. You’re suppose to turn it around in 60 business days, it was 30 calendar days, but even with a tripling of the time, they still can’t get it done. And now a group of legislators wants to up those fees and red tape.

    Running up to the election we saw a state government that could not get out of its own way in coming up with a plan on covid. You now see people pushing back because they don’t believe there is a real plan, they don’t believe that science is behind the decisions making and they don’t believe the two faced politicians do as I say not as I do.

    You know like a mayor who gets a haircut because she has to look good for TV.

    Then you see government absolutely fail at one of their key purposes – public safety with the looting and riots in Chicago, Aurora, Naperville. You wanna know why guns and ammo are at a premium? Because people no longer trust the government to keep them safe. So the rep hit the nail right on the head on the trust issue, when people were being shown video day after day about the ineptness of government and lately all the hypocritical politicians and the latest round of indictments, they had the trust issue on full display everyday on how government can’t do the little things. And if they can’t do those why should we trust them with more of our money.


  32. - fs - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    “You never really learn much from hearing yourself speak.”


  33. - JS Mill - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    =Never going to tax retirement income? Add that clause in the state constitution and be done with it once and for all.=

    WHile I do believe retirement income should be taxed, it just isn’t going to happen so why not add that in? That alone could have made the fair tax pass.

    =pension reform=

    Welcome to 2011 when Tier 2 was implemented. Otherwise known as pension reform.

    The legacy debt, which is the big budget driver, is not going away. In fact, you could cancel future pensions and the legacy debt (which is about 75% of the “pension cost”) will still be there and require $8 billion or more per year.

    Tier 2 reduced the annual pension by about 25%.


  34. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:57 pm:

    ===I never saw a pro-tax ad that even addressed the trust issue===

    Not sure how an ad could turn that around. Easier to just go on offense.


  35. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:58 pm:

    - Todd - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 2:51 pm:

    Todd, what neighboring state government had a better COVID plan than Illinois? I won’t set my egg timer or hold my breath.


  36. - City Zen - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:00 pm:

    ==if paired with a pension language amendment. That goes to the heart of the trust issue.==

    Or pair it with a revised, stricter balanced budget clause in the state constitution. That’s part of the reason we’re in this situation to begin with.


  37. - Mama - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    The governor should try to pass the fair tax again including all the points y’all provided.


  38. - northside reformer - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    Frerichs’ retirement tax was damaging with people I talk to. Not a representative sample but I heard about it more than a few times.
    Guzzardi’s analysis is right but he’s part of the trust problem. He didn’t join his buddy Biss this summer to call for Madigan to step down. Nope. All CTU allies kept quiet all summer. He is part of the trust problem he correctly identified.


  39. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    Yes there is a credibility problem - a lot of self-deserved, but much coming from the GOP lies and phony conspiracy theories.

    On Fair Tax, I didn’t need an autopsy. OW was raising the alarm throughout the campaign about the failing tactics - often lack thereof - by proponents.


  40. - Techie - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:06 pm:

    I agree that trust is a big issue, but so too was what the money would be spent on. Even relatively well-informed people I spoke with about it had no clue that the IL legislature had already passed a law which had many provisions entirely dependent on the Fair Tax’s passage.

    The pro Fair Tax side also didn’t clearly define the stakes, meaning what would happen if it failed. Namely of course that essential spending would have to be cut and/or taxes on EVERYONE would need to be raised.

    Defining the stakes alone would have gone a long way to earning support. If most people were told that the options were 1) Cutting funding for police, education, and social services 2) Raising taxes on everyone or, 3) Raising taxes on the wealthiest 3% of Illinoisians only, it’s easy to see 3 getting majority support.


  41. - SumGai1986 - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:08 pm:

    ==Narrator: the money is still owed.==

    Let’s stop pretending that a 9 year old ILSC decision is somehow the final word in pension reform. A constitutional amendment, if one were allowed, could easy negate this language.

    Now you’ll tell me “well, this goes against the contracts clause of the US Constitution. It would be struck down by SCOTUS”

    Go talk to our friends in Puerto Rico and Rhode Island how this worked out.

    If you truly believe this, you should be first in line to pass the Illinois constitutional amendment so it can be struck down by SCOTUS once and for all.


  42. - SumGai1986 - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:09 pm:

    ^ Sorry, 5-year old decision. My calculator is broken.


  43. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:09 pm:

    “Doesn’t help that after 2 large tax increases- the State is still in bad fiscal shape even without the recent pandemic.”

    Groan. The first tax increase, April 23, 2012, Dan Rutherford-R, Illinois State Treasurer, CBS Local Chicago: “… that the recent 66 percent income tax increase only covers the money needed for pensions … .” The second tax increase, essentially, reinstated the first tax increase. And in the last 8 years the amount required for pensions has increased, as mandated by the Edgar Pension Ramp. Let’s make this simple: “Have you heard on the Edgar Pension Ramp?”

    https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/04/23/rutherford-tough-road-ahead-for-quinns-pension-plan/


  44. - What Do We Do Next - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    Zero. Trust. Period.


  45. - Oldtimer - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:17 pm:

    The pro progressive tax ad with the two regular guys talking in the driveway turned out to be a high level SOS employee and an AFSCME organizer. This wasn’t heavily reported but couldn’t the proponents find Quinn’s welder or anyone not tied to state government to be an advocate?


  46. - southsider - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:17 pm:

    I adore Will Guzzardi, but thinking that Madigan is the root of the trust problem is a bit short sided. Sure, there are some (maybe many) that will rejoice when Madigan leaves, but that isn’t going to change the way people view elected officials. Trust in government is earned over time by hard work and building relationships.

    Fair Tax was a great example how the Democrats have lost touch with every day folks. They didn’t do the work necessary or build the relationships. They didn’t give people a reason to vote for it or a reason to trust them with it.

    Blame Madigan all you want, but no one did the work.


  47. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:20 pm:

    The problem wasn’t the carrot, it was the stick. The choice needed to be between a general tax hike (which democrats have the votes for) or a progressive tax hike.


  48. - SumGai1986 - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:23 pm:

    ==couldn’t the proponents find Quinn’s welder or anyone not tied to state government to be an advocate?==

    Not downstate


  49. - City Zen - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:24 pm:

    ==Doesn’t help that after 2 large tax increases==

    Can we stop saying 2? It was essentially one tax hike. Quinn and Rauner get equal custody.


  50. - SAP - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:25 pm:

    They also forgot to mention that 97% would pay less under the plan.


  51. - Ares - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:26 pm:

    If people distrust State govt, why did the Lockbox Amendment pass? Because people knew exactly where money would go (or stay), in transportation. (It’s not all about Madigan, and if somebody says it is, ask them about US Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and what makes the latter different, other than party affiliation.)


  52. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:28 pm:

    Trust. All day, trust. People just don’t trust Illinois’ political class to do what’s best for them.


  53. - Todd - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    PC Whether they did or not is not the issue, they were being asked to vote for more funding for government. and yet they didn’t have any faith in the way the current money was being spent. Its not that Indiana had a better plan, they didn’t it was that trust issue and they didn’t trust what they were seeing.

    BTW I think Missouri had a better plan


  54. - From DaZoo - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:34 pm:

    OW and Rich raised the communication problem a long, long time ago. RNUG pointed out the alternate tax solution a while back as well. The problem with giving narration on what the change was for was too open ended for most voters…”need to fill a budget hole”. That line is too vague and allowed the trust issues to play out.

    There was a backend bit of property tax relief in the accompanying bill in the form of additional income tax credit on property taxes paid. Again, it wasn’t communicated nearly enough and people either didn’t know or didn’t understand.

    Here’s where they could turn a failure into an opportunity. Not only will there be some amount of tax increase, there will also be program and service cuts. If they attempt a similar amendment (better worded) again, they need to communicate that it will lower your income tax bill AND improve program X and service Y. For example, FOID card processing delays could be reduced with $x added. School funding formula could be increased z% if $w is added. Oh, and maybe put in a sweetner saying a school district’s state funding formula gets a bonus if they have a minimum funding reduction from property taxes.

    Again, be specific and communicate it.


  55. - 1st Ward - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:34 pm:

    This take is really refreshing. An honest dissection of what is and went wrong without political grandstanding and abstention of responsibility which the Gov has failed to do since the failure.

    Further, this take is from someone leading a caucus that has grown over the past couple of cycles. The statement on the Legislature in total being “green” but the head continuing to remain is something that would likely surprise the average Illinois voter who feels nothing is different. One would think the turnover would make it harder for Madigan to retain the Speakership but that remains to be seen.


  56. - Emily - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:34 pm:

    ==We didn’t tell a clear story about why we needed the money and what we were going to spend it on==

    I think therein lies the problem. Many voters did get the message that money would be spent rather than being used for debt reduction or property tax relief.


  57. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:34 pm:

    ==BTW I think Missouri had a better plan==

    Doing nothing is a better plan? You a covid denier too?


  58. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:40 pm:

    ==Well maybe it’s time for a tier three. We cannot tax our way out of this mess.==

    Another example of not enough information being in explained and retained. Tier 3 has been says to be no pension for future employees, replace with a 401k.

    Here is the fine print (RNUG chime in please).
    The number of tier 1 employees is decreasing and the number of tier 2 employees is increasing. Tier 2 pension benefits are so much less that they are helping to pay for tier 1. Tier 2 pension benefits are so much less that the state may get into trouble with the federal government because it may not fully qualify as a pension fo those non social security employees.

    If tier 3 happens and input into the pension system slows or stops, the pension shortfall actually gets worse instead of better. If tier 3 happens, The state has to pay into the 401k what is due on time. The state cannot choose to have a pension holiday. The state will also have to start paying the employers half of the social security tax for any new employee - because all of them will now have to be social security eligible since there will be no pension for them.

    But, hey, go for tier 3.


  59. - Todd - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:44 pm:

    Demoralized — No.

    I think covid is real and a serious health hazard for some. I believe I have been exposed twice in January and think a dear friend and mentor may have died from it. I’ve had several members of my extended family get it. And I have know several friends who got it this go around.

    I just don’t think its bad for most people has the handwringing Karens act about it.

    I don’t like masks and wear one only when obligated to. I patronize small local restaurants and eat lunch at a local pub 2-3 times a week. Spent most of yesterday afternoon there.

    But this thread was about Gazzardi and his take on the fair tax, my point remains that if citizens don’t trust their government, and they see ample evidence of its incompetence they ain’t gonna vote for more taxes


  60. - Old Lobster - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:58 pm:

    Guzzardi is right about one thing: Illinois Democrats have a credibility problem, a trust problem. Democrats have been in charge for 20 years, and our money problems have only gotten worse. Let’s face it: Democrats are incapable of governing…and you can’t blame this on Rauner.


  61. - illinifan - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 3:58 pm:

    They had to simplify the message to the voter as to why the fair tax is the right tax, the language had to include specific guarantees (no tax retirement, etc), the income categories for the tax had to be shown not in a separate package as it was done. There were too many parts and the average voter does not research the parts.


  62. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 4:13 pm:

    === Let’s stop pretending that a 9 year old ILSC decision is somehow the final word in pension reform. A constitutional amendment, if one were allowed, could easy negate this language.===

    Again, ya gotta keep up;

    The money is owed.

    You don’t have 71 and 36

    Same schtick, different “people”

    Between the contract clause and the pesky constitution, sincerely, keep up.

    See… I’m walking through your ridiculousness

    Puerto Rico is a possession, not a state.

    Ribose Island, - RNUG - will walk ya through Arizona is more Illinois.

    … and this is the ignorance on display… full Monty;

    ===If you truly believe this, you should be first in line to pass the Illinois constitutional amendment so it can be struck down by SCOTUS once and for all.===

    Why would anyone who already has a ILSC ruling in hand make a case to prove a point already made?

    LOL


  63. - Shytown - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 4:14 pm:

    The trust factor is definitely part of the problem. But also having to sell this during a pandemic was a big part of the problem - the anti taxers took advantage of the economic vulnerability that so many residents are experiencing and leaned right into it. If we hadn’t experienced a pandemic this cycle I predict the fair tax would have passed.


  64. - City Zen - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 4:17 pm:

    ==the anti taxers took advantage of the economic vulnerability that so many residents are experiencing==

    Then a tax cut for 97% should’ve been an easy choice for those economically vulnerable. Yet many didn’t buy into it.


  65. - Really - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 4:26 pm:

    Old Lobster.

    100% correct. They have never spent the money they have correctly, why would we vote to give you someone else’s even if the need is there? We don’t trust you not to screw this up as well. No now, no tomorrow, no every time you ask until you actually make other efforts first to solve the problem. And raise the flat tax anyway, and let’s see how fast we can kick some of you out of office.


  66. - Really - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 4:30 pm:

    And if you read what Guzzardi said, it is clear that even he doesn’t really get it. The issue about trust doesn’t come up until the end. And he seems to think that if they tell the story differently people will get it. People still get it better than you do Will. Fix the spending and the pensions first, then ask for more money. Until then, the answer is resoundingly no.


  67. - Seats - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 4:31 pm:

    Disagree with not knowing where it was on the ballot being an issue. The election results showed that almost everybody voted on the question, a much higher percentage than I think most people would have expected.


  68. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 4:35 pm:

    The effort was too top-down. It needs to bubble up from the ground.
    Harness and channel the anger.
    People are angry about property taxes. People are angry about school-funding. Do they realize that these problems are both connected to an inadequate and unfair state tax system?
    Read David Daley’s “Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy.” He documents similar successful grass-roots fights.


  69. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 4:36 pm:

    Todd, you obviously have no clue about how bad Missouri is doing with COVID. IL is doing so much better on COVID response, but you won’t accept that for partisan reasons.


  70. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 4:41 pm:

    === Democrats have been in charge for 20 years, and our money problems have only gotten worse. Let’s face it: Democrats are incapable of governing…and you can’t blame this on Rauner.===

    “Blame Democrats, ignore the Rauner years”

    Welp, that’s a take I guess.


  71. - Shytown - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 4:56 pm:

    == Then a tax cut for 97% should’ve been an easy choice for those economically vulnerable. Yet many didn’t buy into it.==

    Easier to be against something than for something. The right took advantage of that and then some by preying on people’s insecurity with their jobs and livelihoods during the worst economic situation most folks have faced in their lives. When you spend $50 million to mislead (and in some cases lie) people about how the change in our tax code would impact them, and it’s a complicated issue, it’s not that hard to keep enough people away from acting in their own best interest.


  72. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 4:58 pm:

    The effort was too top-down. Better to bubble up from the ground.
    People are angry about property taxes.
    People are angry about school-funding.
    Channel the Anger. Do they realize that both these problems are caused by an inadequate and unfair state tax system?
    Read David Daley’s “Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy.” He documents similar successful grass-roots fights.


  73. - Vito From Melrose Park - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 5:00 pm:

    So, we learn that there’s been turnover in the Illinois state legislature. Who’s to say in the near future there will not be the votes to tax some new things since there will be new members in the coming years?


  74. - Father Ted - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 5:09 pm:

    I think he really nailed it. I’ll add that at the end of the day, people needed more than “tax the rich” and/or “make the rich pay their fair share” messaging.


  75. - ajjacksson - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 5:12 pm:

    Stop calling it the “fair” tax. That’s opinion.
    Call it what it is—the progressive tax. And then do some serious educating, instead of assuming the electorate is too dumb to understand.


  76. - Responsa - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 5:14 pm:

    ==They also forgot to mention that 97% would pay less under the plan.==

    Oh, it was mentioned. A lot. Thing is, nobody believed it. (That trust thing we’ve been discussing here.)


  77. - SumGai1986 - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 5:15 pm:

    ==at the end of the day, people needed more than “tax the rich” and/or “make the rich pay their fair share” messaging.==

    Nothing personal, but if I hear the word “messaging” again on this issue, I’m going to puke. It’s not a messaging problem, it’s a policy problem. Illinois state government is a financial black hole. Stop digging the hole, then we can talk about filling it back in.


  78. - 1st Ward - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 5:20 pm:

    “Who’s to say in the near future there will not be the votes to tax some new things since there will be new members in the coming years?”

    An expansion of services subject to a sales tax is an obvious solution that benefits both state and local government without the general public being annoyed (outside of the owners of businesses within these categories).


  79. - Responsa - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 5:26 pm:

    == it’s not that hard to keep enough people away from acting in their own best interest.==

    “People (implied low info voters) voting against their own best interest” is a talking point used by both parties –and it is an offensive talking point regardless of who says it or what the issue is. Nobody knows what another person’s best interest is except the person whose life it is. I have been wanting to say this for a long time so please don’t think I am picking on you, Shytown. :)


  80. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 5:30 pm:

    === and it is an offensive talking point regardless of who says it or what the issue is. Nobody knows what another person’s best interest is except the person whose life it is.===

    It’s not offensive if it’s true… no matter the foolish thinking to vote against those own best wishes

    This is why there’s voter suppression too…

    … can’t have people voting for their best interests when it hurts what we’re trying to do.

    The power to vote is that no matter the who or what, my vote, your vote, “their vote” is equal to the one vote we get.

    Then… elections have consequences…


  81. - Streamwood Retiree - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 5:47 pm:

    Most common fear voiced: “They could tax my retirement income”. This was repeated ad nauseum in the TV ads and was the biggest thing mentioned in exit polls. They didn’t realized that the legislature already has the power to tax retirement income. The only true thing in the ads was that the state would have the power to tax lower incomes more than higher incomes. What a laugh. If the (D) party did that they would be out of power the next election.

    And BTW, I never hear anyone but (R) diehards complain about pensions.


  82. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 6:35 pm:

    Ken Griffin will support any policy that shifts the tax burden from the rich to the middle class. He is the one that really wants to tax retirement income. The proponents could’ve turned this attack right back at Griffin.


  83. - James - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 6:43 pm:

    Just thinking out loud here.

    So we raise the tax rate to what, 6%, 6.5%?
    Give taxpayers a couple years to feel the difference.

    Then put the Fair Tax back on the ballot. Build in a constitutional provision limiting the regular tax rate to 5% for, say, 10 years.

    Then use what we’ve learned from this year’s loss and sell the Fair Tax as a big tax cut for the 97%.


  84. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 7:28 pm:

    People do not understand the relationship between the taxes they pay and the services government provides.

    Instead of drilling kids on the names of their US senators and the state bird and flower, we should make sure no kid graduates high school without understanding the pie charts of where they money comes from and where it goes.

    It is almost January, how about a breakdown of how much the state spent per capita by county in 2020?


  85. - City Zen - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 7:51 pm:

    ==The effort was too top-down. It needs to bubble up from the ground.==

    177 Community and Advocacy Organizations
    126 Labor Organizations
    17 Faith Organizations

    Vote Yes for Fairness claimed over 300 endorsing organizations, each well versed in grassroots campaigning. This campaign was the very definition of bubble up from the ground. Yet they failed.


  86. - Shytown - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 8:05 pm:

    == I have been wanting to say this for a long time so please don’t think I am picking on you, Shytown. :) ==

    No offense taken. :) I stand by this however.

    Why vote to ultimately increase taxes on yourself if you make under six figures and the alternative is instead to tax those who make a high six or seven figures? There’s no logical reason outside of being convinced just enough that it’s not to your benefit.

    We are regularly bombarded with marketing day to day to be swayed to buy products or look a certain why. Why should we expect voters to behave any differently?


  87. - Really - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 8:32 pm:

    “You can’t trust Democrats with your money.” Best. Line. Ever. I think we should have T shirts made up.


  88. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 8:35 pm:

    === “You can’t trust Democrats with your money.” Best. Line. Ever. I think we should have T shirts made up.===

    Lemme guess… you also are the type…

    “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat”?

    You - Really - are a sadly amusing soul.


  89. - California Guy - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 9:13 pm:

    Meh, the contracts clause is the USC isn’t absolute, we know that from SCOTUS add lower court rulings that have entertained contact impairments to meet a public purpose in a narrowly tailored way. I could see a conservative SCOTUS allowing a modest pension reduction. The State’s liability is insanely high on pensions. Based on the last 20-30 years of financial management, I don’t think any reasonable person actually believes tax increases will significantly mitigate three pension problem.


  90. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 10:35 pm:

    ===we know that from SCOTUS add lower court rulings that have entertained contact impairments to meet a public purpose in a narrowly tailored way. I could see a conservative SCOTUS allowing a modest pension reduction.===

    Aren’t conservatives strict “constitutionalists”?

    Can’t wish the contract clause away


  91. - dbk - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 12:05 am:

    Good analysis/autopsy by Guzzardi - for me, the question is more one of how all these missteps occurred in the first place. Was it the crisis of the pandemic? Was it the Gov’s staff thinking a progressive tax was a no-brainer? etc.

    Another bit of fall-out if MJM continues as Speaker - or if there’s a terrific battle from which a weak replacement is agreed upon as a compromise candidate - is that the toolbox for addressing the longstanding pension liability isn’t going to expand. That’s not good, because it’ll be “taxpayers v. public servants” endlessly rehashed on a near-daily basis.

    Here’s how Canada did it - and nobody got stiffed:
    https://prospect.org/coronavirus/unsanitized-dealmakers-dont-want-to-make-deal-stimulus-liability/


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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