Wirepoints report lends credence to Rep. Butler's warning about Pritzker's progressive tax plan
The recent push by Illinois Democrats behind the so-called "fair tax" that one online news outlet calls dishonest brings to mind warnings earlier this year by a Republican state House representative that such a tax would further strain Illinois' already overburdened middle class.
Illinoisans need to be very wary about Gov. J.B. Pritzker's progressive income tax plan, state Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) told Capitol Fax last month.
"The question is not, and never will be, about what arbitrary rates Illinois Democrats are trying to sell to families and businesses," Butler was quoted as telling the online news service. "The question is, Do taxpayers trust handing a blank check to lawmakers who have proven time and time again to be unable to rein in spending and offer real reforms to the State of Illinois?"
Butler did not respond to a Peoria Standard request for comment about a recent Wirepoints article that challenged the honesty of a Pritzker-linked group that said the tax would "fix" the state's fiscal crisis. However, in late February, Butler was part of a House Republican caucus press conference announcing a House resolution opposed to any measure that would create a progressive income tax in Illinois.
"It's clear from the projections coming out of the Pritzker administration that a progressive tax will lead to increased taxes on middle-class families across the state to generate the revenues they claim are needed," Butler posted to his House website at the time. "We have lost 700,000 residents in the past decade because of Illinois’ crushing tax burden, and the signing of Senate Bill 1 into law last week means we are certain to lose more job creators and those they employ. To increase the cost to get by in Illinois even more is only going to make this problem worse. We simply cannot afford this unfair tax increase."
Illinois state House Reps. Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) and Keith Wheeler (R-North Aurora) also attended the February press conference.
Butler has represented the Illinois State House 87th district since he was appointed to the seat in March 2015. The 87th Illinois State House District encompasses all of Menard and Logan counties, parts of Tazewell and Sangamon counties, Lincoln and parts of Chatham.
Pritzker has claimed his progressive tax plan, which was a major part of his election campaign last year, would create taxation in Illinois that works for all residents, not just the rich. While commercials in favor of the graduated tax began running in March, the real push was launched earlier this month over the objections of conservatives in the state legislature.
Think Big Illinois claimed that Gov. Pritzker's plan could "fix our state's $3.2 billion crisis," but a recent Wirepoints article called that claim dishonest and said instead that passage of the tax would dupe Illinoisans "into throwing more money at a doomed effort." Think Big Illinois' claims grossly underestimate just how serious the state's financial crisis is, stated the Wirepoints article, written by the publication's founder Mark Glennon.
"If only the hole indeed were just $3.2 billion," Glennon wrote. "Most Illinoisans of any political stripe would probably be happy to pay up and call it a day to fix our fiscal crisis, no matter how the burden was distributed. But it’s preposterous – off by several multiples, depending on exactly what you choose to count."
The annual funding shortfall for five of the state's pensions alone comes to $4.7 billion a year, based on actuarially determined contributions and "on assumptions widely regarded as far too optimistic," the article said.
"But the new tax would raise only $3.4 billion per year (That’s the administration’s claim, though the estimate has been heavily criticized as too optimistic)," Glennon wrote. "In other words, the new tax wouldn’t come close to solving the state’s pension crisis, never mind the hundreds of local pension funds across the state."
Organizations in this Story
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker • Illinois Representative Avery Bourne (R-95th) • Illinois Representative Grant Wehrli (R-41st) • Illinois Representative Keith R. Wheeler (R-50th) • Illinois Representative Tim Butler (R-87th) • WirePoints