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*** UPDATED x1 - Welch responds *** ILGOP pounces on Welch’s mention of graduated income tax idea

Thursday, Feb 25, 2021

* Background is here if you need it. ILGOP press release…

ICYMI: Speaker Welch’s first priority is a tax hike

Just one month into the job, new Speaker of the House Chris Welch has proposed that Illinois Democrats should try again to pass a constitutional amendment implementing a progressive income tax.

Chicago Tribune

“We have to tell the voters what we’re going to do with that money,” Welch said during a virtual event hosted by the Economic Club of Chicago. “I certainly think tying that new revenue to pensions would be a winner.”

ILGOP Spokesman Joe Hackler responded, saying, “What the new Speaker doesn’t understand is that the people of Illinois did not reject the Madigan-Pritzker tax hike amendment because they were confused on what the revenue would be used for. They rejected the tax hike amendment because new revenue would be sent to Springfield to be squandered by the same corrupt politicians and Democratic party that got us into this financial crisis in the first place.”

Speaker Welch’s ill-conceived proposal not only shows a lack of judgment, but it also reveals his true priority: paying off those inside state government while the rest of us pick up the tab.

As more and more former elected officials and insiders are indicted as part of former Speaker Madigan’s corruption scheme (including just last night), Democrats in Springfield continue to plead for more money. The reality is that the Madigan-Pritzker tax hike amendment was defeated overwhelmingly last year because Illinoisans don’t trust the corrupt insider system that has controlled state government for years.

Sometimes, it takes a while before new leaders fully appreciate how every word they say will be examined and even twisted. Welch never said it was his first priority, for instance, but he walked right into this.

Even so, the ILGOP appears to prefer magic fairy dust to actual solutions. “Just make it go away and never bother us again” is not a constitutional option here.

*** UPDATE *** Sean Anderson on behalf of Speaker Welch…

As usual on this subject, Illinois Republicans have nothing constructive to offer because their only solution is to cut programs and services for underserved populations and communities of color. They can send their little press releases to play petty politics, but the Speaker is focused on having serious conversations to find solutions that benefit working class people across the state.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

39 Comments
  1. - SSL - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 11:43 am:

    It was on the 10pm news last night, and they implied it was much more than an offhand comment. This is how things go these days. Probably why the last Speaker rarely spoke.


  2. - Cool Papa Bell - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 11:44 am:

    The Treasurer might want to pull the Speaker aside and let him know how “mentioning” things works out.


  3. - Joe Schmoe - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 11:45 am:

    DOA.


  4. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 11:54 am:

    “We have to tell the voters what we’re going to do with that money”

    You did. Over and over.


  5. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 11:55 am:

    Joe Hackler - please show your work.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 12:09 pm:

    Unforced error by Welch.

    He’ll learn.

    The rest is noise


  7. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 12:27 pm:

    Like Missouri with Right to Work. Present it over and over til the voters “get it right.”


  8. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 12:34 pm:

    Meh, as far as a big mistake by Welch. The austerity-only ILGOP is a super-minority party with bleak prospects and major image problems. Let’s have those spending and revenue conversations, and hear Republicans and their allies constantly calling for cuts.


  9. - Referred - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 12:45 pm:

    It’s like commenters always say. It’s about the rule of 60. Welch needs to show us the 60% of Illinois voters who will vote for a graduated tax they just opposed, or he needs to move on. Pretending otherwise is like believing in magic fairy dust.


  10. - dbk - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 12:47 pm:

    Sean Anderson is right, though. IL Republicans can’t seem to figure out how to square that pesky budget circle any better than the Dems.

    I’m okay with Welch referring to another go at a progressive tax, although I don’t think putting the additional revenue in a legacy (pension) debt lock-box is the best way to sell it.

    One interesting data point that’s emerged from the pandemic-induced financial crisis for states (and municipalities, of course): the states that have weathered the crisis the best? States with progressive income taxes - hands down.


  11. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 1:01 pm:

    ==because their only solution==

    Uh, Sean, you seem to have an “only” solution as well.


  12. - Rinse and repeat - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 1:04 pm:

    He’s offering a solution that was voted down by Illinois citizens less than 4 months ago? That’s more than disappointing.

    Let’s tax the wealthy without referendum. Based on yesterday’s discussion, put a city and state tax on the CBOT and MERC.


  13. - Captain Obvious - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 1:12 pm:

    I had no idea that cuts in programs only affected people of color. Thanks to speaker’s mouthpiece for enlightening me.


  14. - Streamwood Retiree - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 1:13 pm:

    Yes, “to fund pensions” is DOA.
    Trying tying the Constitutional Amendment to a ban on property tax for schools. Right in the amendment. For how many decades have we been waiting for this? “Backward” states like Alabama and Virginia fund schools by income tax and the result is reasonable income taxes on working people and property taxes a tenth of Illinois. Even the tax on a Million dollar house at today’s rates is a trivial percentage of its owners income. It’s working people shut out of home ownership by property taxes.

    When I lived in Virginia there was a fixed rate income tax higher than Illinois’ but a much larger personal exemption. Instead of all the additions and subtractions, you just took your taxable income from your US 1040.


  15. - H-W - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 1:23 pm:

    Welch clearly should have thought this through, before dropping the idea. Even lay people who might agree that we should return to the idea of a progressive tax reform know better than to just throw that idea around at this point in time.

    On the other hand, the ILGOP response is even more ludicrous. Suggesting Democrats are attempting to raise taxes, which are intended “to be squandered by the same corrupt politicians and Democratic party that got us into this financial crisis in the first place,” denies the truth that politicians of both parties have a long history of sharing equally in creating this fiscal mess.

    Even worse, the patently false statement that such a tax proposal would be intended for “paying off those inside state government while the rest of us pick up the tab” is just, dare I say, a lie?

    If honesty is not the order of the day in trying times like these, then it should become so. Digging deep into the same sands will only keep both parties incapable of turning things around, and only hurts the citizenry.


  16. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 1:24 pm:

    The fact of the matter is that the Democratic base believes in progressive and graduated taxation. It’s going to be pushed and pushed because it’s popular with the base. Not only that, but it’s the long-term future of the state, just as most states do and most countries do. But just because it’s right, doesn’t make it easy, as the big thinkers saw in November.


  17. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 1:26 pm:

    Time to move on… need to take the air out of this balloon Mr. Speaker. Not the time…


  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 1:30 pm:

    === I had no idea that cuts in programs only affected people of color.===

    You forgot the *and*

    Reading is fundamental


  19. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 1:31 pm:

    There’s an and…

    ===cut programs and services for underserved populations and communities of color.===

    You’re welcome.


  20. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 1:56 pm:

    ===is just, dare I say, a lie?===

    And?


  21. - Trish - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 2:37 pm:

    ==their only solution is to cut programs and services==

    Except they don’t name their cuts.

    The proposal does have merit. Illinois pension debt is well known and inhibiting business growth, relocation and job creation. A new pension constitutional amendment would have to be bipartisan and also clearly prove to voters that pension payments would increase and moneys couldn’t be diverted. I imagine there would be a temptation to increase benefits or expand pension participation as the debt came down as well. Other issues, like increasing the predicted rate of investment return and life expectancy would also have to be addressed.


  22. - Louis G Atsaves - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    The only solution the super majority Democrats and their Billionaire Governor keep coming up with are higher taxes and higher spending. And the voters have already spoken against that solution. Loudly.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 3:38 pm:

    Oh - Louis G Atsaves -, lol

    You did ok with the multi-millionaire Rauner not having any solutions and not having budgets too. You cheered. Loudly.

    It’s not like Raunerites like yourself wanted solutions.

    It’s that type of silly happens when Welch says things without grasping the harsh weight and reality that his words will bring rhetoric not helpful, while also pointedly partisan and designed not to be helpful.


  24. - Rinse and Repeat - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 3:52 pm:

    OW,
    Why don’t we consider taxes on CBOT and CME?


  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 4:00 pm:

    === Why don’t we consider taxes on CBOT and CME?===

    Who’s we?

    I look at it from the cuts first. Close a prison, slash DNR, hurt downstate.

    If you’d like to consider what you’d like to see, have at it.


  26. - anon - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 4:04 pm:

    The dems are so beholden to the teacher and state employee unions that there will be no pension reform-or property tax reform under the democrats–only more taxes and more regulation–and more jobs and people leaving–90,000 last year–and how do the dems react to the exodus?-they use the lame duck to enact a pension sweetener for chicago unions and a huge payday for trial lawyers at the expense of the state’s job creators–sad to watch this train wreck.


  27. - DuPage - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 4:05 pm:

    @- Rinse and repeat - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 1:04 pm:

    ===Let’s tax the wealthy without referendum. Based on yesterday’s discussion, put a city and state tax on the CBOT and MERC.===

    They could move just over the line into Indiana a lot easier then most businesses. Rent or build a building near the exit ramp from the skyway, most of the employees could live with the commute, or even work from home.


  28. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 4:06 pm:

    === there will be no pension reform-or property tax reform under the democrats===

    1) explain your constitutional solution.

    2) not having 60/30 isn’t the fault of Democrats.

    3) victimhood is still victimhood.


  29. - Louis G Atsaves - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 4:06 pm:

    “It’s not like Raunerites like yourself wanted solutions.”

    Oh, so you are a mind reader now. The correct answer is we wanted solutions which were rejected by the super majority Democrats in power.

    Now everyone has to live with the results of all that, including those bragging how they blocked things on both sides of the fence.

    Welch is entitled to make a few rookie mistakes in his new position. But as you say, pointedly partisan and unhelpful statements about a political party that is not in a position to help or being given opportunities to help or a seat at the table is just playing a greatest hits record on an oldies radio station over and over and over and over and over and over again.

    Something new please. For a change.


  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 4:11 pm:

    === Oh, so you are a mind reader now===

    “I’m frustrated too but taking steps to reform Illinois is more important than a short term budget stalemate”

    What was the solution? The solutions were to hold the state hostage for an agenda that would never pass.

    I’m not a mind reader, we all lived it. You cheered it, even knowing more people hurt wasn’t getting any solution passed.

    === The correct answer is we wanted solutions which were rejected by the super majority Democrats in power.===

    “I’m not in charge, I’m trying to *be* in charge”

    LOL…… LOL

    Dude, Rauner and every governor since 1970… 60/71… 30/36…

    Still the victim, but you did ok.

    ===But as you say===

    I said that? Exactly like that? Huh.


  31. - Old Lonster - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 4:15 pm:

    Welch misses the point, completely. THE PENSION SYSTEM IS BROKEN AND NEEDS TO BE FIXED. POURING MORE MONEY DOWN A BLACK HOLE ACCOMPLISHES NOTHING.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 4:16 pm:

    === Welch misses the point, completely.===

    What is your constitutional solution?

    Be specific.


  33. - anon - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 4:46 pm:

    1) explain your constitutional solution.
    See AZ pensions clause–almost identical to ours–AZ voters approved pension reform in 2018. But IL dems don’t have the will to put the same question to Il voters. AZ has the citizen initiated referendum option–how about dems just allowing that in Illinois?

    2) not having 60/30 isn’t the fault of Democrats.
    We will see now that Trump is gone if suburban voters hold democrats accountable–House Dems outspent Durkin by $20 and lost seats.

    3) victimhood is still victimhood.
    the real victim is our once great state–we see people/employer exodus in high tax states like NY and Cal–we don’t have the economic elasticity those states do to continue these tax and spend policies and now we have a Speaker talking about raising taxes when $7billion is headed Illinois’ way in a matter of days from the Pelosi-Schumer bail-out.


  34. - Pundent - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 4:51 pm:

    =The correct answer is we wanted solutions which were rejected by the super majority Democrats in power.=

    And when our minority views were rejected by the majority we started taking hostages. And that didn’t work out so well. So we lost even more seats, tried to convince anyone who would listen to run for governor, lost by an historic margin, and now find ourselves in a position where we don’t hold any statewide offices.

    But don’t blame us.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 4:53 pm:

    === But IL dems don’t have the will to put the same question to Il voters. AZ has the citizen initiated referendum option–how about dems just allowing that in Illinois?===

    The money is still owed. You do remember that.

    As to the AZ “mirroring”, I’ll leave that to - RNUG - to the ask and answered. To the Dems? Win elections. Get 71 and 36. It’s lazy and disingenuous to simply blame any party if you can’t win elections. Winners make policy, or in this case make possible.

    === We will see now that Trump is gone if suburban voters hold democrats accountable–House Dems outspent Durkin by $20 and lost seats.===

    Narrator: Durkin’s final number was 1 gained seat. Durkin is still in the super-minority by… 2 seats… and 15 seats short of the gavel.

    You didn’t really answer #3, you kinda just went all “the DC Dems”


  36. - Pundent - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 4:54 pm:

    =See AZ pensions clause–almost identical to ours–AZ voters approved pension reform in 2018.=

    We got pension reform. It’s called tier 2. It sounds like you have a problem with pension debt. Can’t help you there. What’s owed is owed. That is unless the AZ supreme court is going to start hearing our cases as well.


  37. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 5:05 pm:

    - anon -

    To be more fair?

    Barickman had these id-ers about constitutional changes, Welch would like the Fair Tax talk… how about a bipartisan call for a constitutional convention?

    I’d be interested to see if that could fly.

    The last time it was out to the voters… it was defeated.


  38. - Willowglen - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 7:32 pm:

    Forget the Constitional question. Even if there is a litigation strategy which could work the unions would never allow it. The only thing which could motivate the unions if ious are issued in lieu of payments. So OW, be specific. What kind of tax increases are necessary? They have to be much greater than last proposed, and please answer whether big tax increases are exogenous to productivity.


  39. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 25, 21 @ 7:51 pm:

    === Even if there is a litigation strategy which could work the unions would never allow it.===

    Explain Janus.

    Your premise is so flawed, you’re looking for an excuse to feel victimized.

    It’s been litigated. “Asked and answered”. The ILSC has ruled

    Be honest to the truth, don’t pretend history hasn’t happened.

    === What kind of tax increases are necessary? They have to be much greater than last proposed===

    The Fair Tax was greater… LOL

    I dunno what you think you are trying to “gotcha” here.

    I don’t think YOU know what you’re asking.

    If the answers were easy, it would been done already. Simple solutions are never either.

    Revenue is needed. The pension angst is willing to ignore the honest truths.


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