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Pritzker asked why he didn’t propose tax cuts

Friday, Feb 17, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From yesterday…

* Pritzker’s response to the first question…

Well, let’s start with we did cut taxes last year when we had a surplus that we could put toward temporary tax break for everybody when inflation was going up. We did that. And I’ll continue to look for ways to put money back into peoples’ pockets with tax breaks. I also want to point out we’ve underfunded our education system, we’ve underfunded early childhood education. And so we’re trying to do things simultaneously as resources are made available. But remember, none of this can be done, I want to point this out and make sure everybody pays attention, can’t be done if you don’t balance the budget and make sure you’re allocating if you have surplus resources, allocate them properly when we thought those were one time funds over the last couple of years because some of it came in from the federal government. We said we’re only going to put them toward one time expenditures. And that meant for example, paying down debt for the state, we paid down almost $11 billion of debt for the state as a result of those excess revenues or surpluses that we saw, because we weren’t sure about whether we were going to see continued increases in our state sources of revenue. We now are looking at the state sources, we’re not seeing any federal revenue to augment that and yet we’re still running surpluses. That’s why we have surpluses here in FY23. It’s allowed us to pay down more debt. But and some of it will go to, for example, the pensions. We’re seeing that as a stable level of revenue. We dropped the revenue estimate by about one and a half billion dollars for next year. Because again, being prudent, I’ve been very conservative about revenue estimates. And so going into the next year, we’re actually proposing less revenue and lower spending overall than we had in FY23. And we’re dedicating that to trying to uplift our children across the state.

Please pardon all transcription errors.

* And here’s his response to the second question…

Oh, believe me, I want to make any tax cuts that we could propose permanent. Let’s start with that. I would like to lower everybody’s taxes. That’s number one. I’d love to do that. We also as you know, have deficits that have been run. I’m talking about infrastructure, investment deficits, deficits and investing in education that we need to work on simultaneously with trying to get more money back into people’s pockets. We’ve not raised taxes. In fact, we’ve held taxes the same. What we’ve seen is a level of economic activity in the state and our GDP rising, and that has brought in more dollars in our regular you know three big sources of revenue and that sales tax, individual income tax and corporate income tax, and we’re trying to put those in the right places. We’re getting to where we want to be in Illinois, again, rising in the rankings. And one thing to point out to you is that today, we’re number six in the country in K-12 education according to US News and World Report. And we’re number one among the most populous states in the country, the 10 most populous states we’re number one. I want us to maintain that I want us to make sure we’re investing in the right things. I have to say early childhood is absolutely the best place.

The only USNWR state rankings I could find use data that’s four years old.

* But here’s a good point from Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability

(A)round 95% of all General Fund spending on services goes to the four core areas of Education (Pre-K, K-12, and Higher Education), Healthcare, Human Services, and Public Safety. For too long, the state’s structural fiscal problems have forced decision-makers to cut Illinois’ real, inflation-adjusted investment in those core services. Just last year, Illinois’ funding for those services was collectively 16% less in real terms than it was in FY 2000, resulting in inadequate funding for schools, and inadequate capacity to meet the health, safety, and human service needs of everyone from senior citizens to individuals with disabilities, mental health concerns, or who have suffered from domestic violence. [Emphasis added.]

There’s more in Ralph’s report, but I went over it with subscribers earlier today, so I’ll just leave it at that.


  1. - JCT - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 9:34 am:

    If the graduated tax referendum had passed, it would have been the greatest tax cut for the most people ever in the history of the state of Illinois. Maybe he thought 40-some percent of voters knocking it down was proof that Illinois doesn’t want tax cuts.

  2. - Trap - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 9:37 am:

    “We’ve not raised taxes.” Capital bill anyone?

  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 9:40 am:

    ===Capital bill===

    Infrastructure doesn’t pay for itself.

  4. - Steve - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 9:46 am:

    -We’ve not raised taxes-

    Taxes at the gas pump have gone up. That is a fact.

  5. - Galena Guy - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 9:49 am:

    Trap - “Who needs infrastructure?”

  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 9:52 am:

    ===at the gas pump have gone up. That is a fact.===

    Why was that tax raised, who supported the increase?

  7. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 10:00 am:

    “being prudent, I’ve been very conservative about revenue estimates.” Yes. Yes. Yes. That is what good governance is.

    “Illinois’ funding for those services was collectively 16% less in real terms than it was in FY 2000″
    George Ryan budgets were grossly overinflated. Spending money the state didn’t have and creating inadequate revenue to maintain those levels even in times of solid economic growth. Then the dotcom bubble burst. Then 9/11. So comparing any budget numbers to the Ryan years is a bad point of comparison.

  8. - Jerry - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 10:17 am:

    Roads aren’t free. Someone’s gotta pay for them. We could make them all Toll Roads, if you like.

  9. - Arsenal - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 10:19 am:

    It seems like there’s an unspoken assumption here that the top priority at all times should be to cut taxes, and I’m not sure I agree. I’m actually sympathetic to the “government that governs least governs best” mindset, but educating our children seems like the least the government can do.

  10. - Jocko - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 10:22 am:

    ==If Illinois can afford to spend==

    Ugh (exclamation point) JB should’ve told Mark “Those who want government to be run like a business need to acknowledge Norfolk Southern is a business.”

  11. - JS Mill - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 10:22 am:

    =Taxes at the gas pump have gone up. That is a fact.=

    You are free to head to Michigan with their dirt roads if you like.

    Texas and Arizona are an option too, if you don’t like electricity or water.

    Me? I am going to pay the extra to have paved roads.

  12. - Back to the Future - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 10:29 am:

    Thought it was a fair question by Mark Maxwell.

  13. - ;) - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 10:31 am:

    JB wants to cut taxes and make tax cuts permananent? Haven’t laughed so hard at a political lie in a long, long time.
    He must’ve developed wings and can fly…

  14. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 10:35 am:

    ===wants to cut taxes and make tax cuts permananent?===

    Explain the Fair Tax and what that would’ve meant for most of Illinois taxpayers, after you stop hyperventilating from laughing so hard

  15. - Arsenal - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 10:47 am:

    ==Roads aren’t free.==

    For sure, but it *was* a tax hike.

  16. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 10:48 am:

    People, get back to the core subject of the post. Too much extraneous stuff.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 10:56 am:

    To the post,

    If a budget is a weight and measure of policy by the monetary numbers toward policy, if the governor finds his policies (and the rainy day fund) are the measure, the voters will look at the words “Pritzker” used during the campaign, and how “the governor” sees the governing in a budget.

    The question posed given the governing with this budget, it’s fair to pose the question to understand the budget in the lens of the campaign past

  18. - This - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 10:59 am:

    The Governor has made record investments into school districts and municipal governments, which are creating opportunities for local units of government to cut property taxes. He didn’t include that point in his response but could have. Might be interesting to survey which local units of government have held the line or reduced property taxes.

  19. - DuPage - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 11:01 am:

    What is the status of that plan for a I57 to I65 link in Will County? Indiana had approved their part of the road, Rauner declared he was saving money by not having a budget, so it did not get funded. Maybe it could be put back on the list of infrastructure projects to be built.

  20. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 11:18 am:

    Illinoisans want higher taxes. That’s what they said when they rejected the Fair Tax and tax cuts for the vast majority. /s

  21. - Surly Dan - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 11:20 am:

    Since Pritzker didn’t get his progressive tax, the least he can do is cut regressive taxes. The grocery tax doesn’t bring in that much real revenue anyways, seems like an easy political win to just cut it permanently.

  22. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 11:22 am:

    ===The grocery tax doesn’t bring in that much real revenue anyways===

    It brings in zero state revenue. All local. State reimbursed during pause.

  23. - Arsenal - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 11:38 am:

    ==Illinoisans want higher taxes. That’s what they said when they rejected the Fair Tax and tax cuts for the vast majority. /s==

    Snark, yes, but I do think voters across the country have repeatedly demonstrated that they consider tax cuts a low priority.

  24. - Huh? - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 12:45 pm:

    Reporter - why aren’t you looking to cut taxes?
    Pritzker - I got elected to a second term.

  25. - Politix - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 1:09 pm:

    Yep - he campaigned on it but when Illinois had its chance for a tax cut, they blew it.

    And grocery taxes were cut during the pandemic.

  26. - froganon - Friday, Feb 17, 23 @ 1:19 pm:

    Illinois can’t afford tax cuts. Voters who want tax cuts and the additional cuts in budgets for schools, social services and infrastructure vote for Republicans, hence the Republican, legislative super minority and no Republicans in state wide offices. The Trump and Bush tax cuts are the main drivers behind our federal deficit. Roads, bridges, schools, health and human services, voting infrastructure, police and fire services, medical care, parks and a host of other public amenities are paid for with taxes. Lower taxes mean those services are reduced, full stop.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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