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Question of the day

Friday, Jul 1, 2022

* As we discussed a few months ago, the Illinois Policy Institute has calculated the new tax cut savings at $556 per household on average, not including the six-month suspension of the increase in the Motor Fuel Tax.

But despite often referring to the institute’s numbers and analysis on the budget, or taxes, or pensions, or the Census or whatever, we have hardly seen that number mentioned in stories about this particular topic. For just one example, here’s Capitol News Illinois

Illinoisans will receive some modest tax relief starting Friday when the state’s new fiscal year begins. […]

[Republicans] also criticized some of the tax breaks as too small or for not being permanent

$556+ ain’t chump change. And for those eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, that relief is permanent.

* When I interviewed Gov. Pritzker yesterday, I asked whether he agreed with the IPI’s numbers…

I haven’t looked at their estimate. With doubling of the potential property tax rebate and a couple hundred, few hundred dollars that some families will get directly. And you know, the elimination of the grocery tax and the freezing of the gas tax. I haven’t done a calculation of what it would save each person. So I can’t answer that question. But, being able to send hundreds of dollars back to people at a time when they’re suffering from higher prices, is an obligation of government.

And by the way, we’re limited in doing that to what we can afford in the surpluses that we ran. And we gotta keep running those surpluses in order to be able to continue to cut people’s taxes, which is not possible unless you do what I’ve done, which is balance the budget and pay off the bills.

On the one hand, pointing to an official estimate could help dispel the widespread belief that these are barely negligible savings. On the other hand, if people don’t actually see those touted savings, they might get angry. And using IPI’s analysis might legitimatize a frequent critic.

* The Question: Should the governor run the numbers to come up with his own tax savings estimate, point to IPI’s numbers or just stay the course? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Amalia - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 11:19 am:

    I like the you wanted tax relief you got tax relief argument so use what they say they will get or just refer people via an even the IPI says there will be tax relief. you are right, it is not chump change. but do internal calculations to confirm. if less, that’s a problem, if more you can shout that down the line.

  2. - vern - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 11:21 am:

    I voted stay the course. Unless a benefit is actually the same dollar amount for most people (e.g. the federal stimulus payments), trying to peg it to a specific number is a distraction. Voters don’t see these issues as purely mathematical questions. Better to message along the lines of feeling their pain than wonk out on the math.

  3. - JS Mill - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 11:25 am:

    I don’t think using IPI’s numbers and legitimizing them for any reason is a good long-term strategy.

    I think you can develop numbers (I bet they have already) and keep them in your pocket just in case.

  4. - H-W - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 11:25 am:

    I voted yes. The Governor needs to do so for several reasons. One as you suggest. But more important, to say “I haven’t done the numbers” suggests that he does not know how those numbers are going to impact the budget. It looks to me like sloppy management. Pritzker wants to own the results, so he needs to own the math (first). Otherwise, he sets himself up as what Republicans like to say - a big spending, fiscally irresponsible politician.

    Run the numbers. Own them.

  5. - Lt Guv - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 11:28 am:

    What JS Mill said

  6. - Cool Papa Bell - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 11:30 am:

    Ignore the IPI and do your own calculations.

  7. - yinn - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 11:30 am:

    Using an official estimate that can be quoted seems like the proverbial no-brainer to me.

  8. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 11:35 am:

    ===how those numbers are going to impact the budget===

    They have that estimate already.

  9. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 11:38 am:

    Think I hit the wrong button, but JB should use the IPI numbers unless the official estimate is much higher. IPI has complained for years about taxation, dem fiscal policy, etc etc. Would be easy for Bailey (or national GOP, if JB does jump into prez race) to dismiss official admin numbers when touting this tax break in the future. Numbers from a decidedly conservative think tank would be much harder for opponents and PAC’s to dismiss (or flat-out lie about).

  10. - Leap Day William - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 11:54 am:

    == I don’t think using IPI’s numbers and legitimizing them for any reason is a good long-term strategy. ==

    Absolutely this. Give the IPI an iota of credibility and you’ll just enable them. If the government runs the numbers and it comes up the same as IPI, whatever. I do wonder what the overall hot takes be if the government calculates the numbers and it ends up being higher or lower than the IPI?

  11. - Steve - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 11:54 am:

    Create an official number. Why rely on anyone else?

  12. - Glengarry - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 11:54 am:

    It’s always best to confront IPI with the facts.

  13. - Out in Northwest Illinois - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 12:07 pm:

    They should generate their own estimate with income scenarios.

    I think the two “numbers” folks look at the most are what is my grocery bill and fuel bill per week or month.

    Anyone notice that natural gas per therm charges are about quadruple from last year…?

  14. - illinifan - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 12:08 pm:

    It is best to run your own estimate.

  15. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 12:09 pm:

    Use IPI’s 556 number - even that will be lost on most - the checks that JB will send will have a concrete impact but they are small - the grocery/gas tax relief will be imperceptible due to the tiny percent reduction and inflated prices. but this message really just needs to mature for November anyway.

  16. - 1st Ward - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 12:25 pm:

    The majority of this is for property taxes so if you don’t own a home you aren’t really going to receive much relief outside of a $50 check and a couple bucks a month at the grocery store. City of Chicago and Cook County homeownership rate is around 50%. If he runs ads on aggregate savings that half of Cook County isn’t eligible for that might backfire especially if gas prices move another leg higher.

  17. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 12:26 pm:

    Typical election year gimmicks

    Calling a delay of a tax hike a tax cut will fool no one and the Governor would never cite a bunch of carnival barkers numbers

  18. - From DaZoo - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 12:30 pm:

    Stay the course. I think the administration is still feeling the sting from Fair Tax flop which had included an effort to develop a tax savings calculator for people to use. It would be fairly easy to re-tool the calculator. But grocery and driving habits have changed wildly these past couple years for most people. I’m not sure there’s enough budget fine detail oriented people who would use it to warrant the effort.

  19. - rtov - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 12:47 pm:

    I think it is naïve to assume that the governor’s administration has not run its own estimates of tax savings. Creating such a plan without these estimates is nonsensical. I would not be surprised to learn that such estimates concluded the savings would be less than $556 on average, and therefore, the administration is relying IPI’s estimates. Further, I cannot agree with the conclusion that “$556 ain’t chump change.” We are talking about a “savings” of less than $50 a month…what most people would in fact consider the definition of “chump change”. Also, at the end of the day, the “savings” not actually benefit residents in that grocery and gas taxes help municipalities fund much needed infrastructure projects, which will now force municipalities to look elsewhere to raise revenue for these project or merely go without, either way residents lose.

    I hope this actually gets posted, most of my comments do not.

  20. - snowman61 - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 12:58 pm:

    I voted to create their own estimates as I’m sure they already have. The IPI statements are questionable passed on the past so best to either prove them wrong or show that they are right for once. Then again, maybe their numbers are higher and the state wants to keep us thinking we are better off.
    I know my savings are less but I currently rent so no Property tax relief for me.

  21. - Proud Sucker - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 3:42 pm:

    I’m never sure about IPI’s methodology. Calculate your own numbers.

  22. - zatoichi - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 4:24 pm:

    Stay the course. Get the state’s finances in as good shape as they can. Pay those state employee dental bills, make a serious hit to pension cost, get several more credit upgrades, grow that rainy day fund, do the road/infrastructure repairs/upgrades. Down turns are going to come. Be prepped then make adjustments as they are needed.

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