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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Pritzker introduces Fair Tax Calculator to push agenda; numbers still not adding up for critics

State Government

By Kyla Asbury | Mar 16, 2019

Gov. J.B. Pritzker

Gov. J.B. Pritzker held a press conference Tuesday to announce the launch of his graduated income-tax calculator.

Pritzker said he was pleased to be joined at the press conference by so many working men and women in what he called "the fight for fairness."

"Everywhere I’ve gone, working families want to be treated fairly," Pritzker said. "The [current] flat-tax system is regressive and unfair to the middle-class and those striving to get there. People like me should pay more and you should pay less."

Rep. Amy Grant (R-Wheaton)

Pritzker said his administration is committed to being fully transparent and giving others the tools to see the benefits of his progressive income-tax proposal, which is why they have released the Fair Tax Calculator.

"You plug in your income, the number of children if you’re a parent, and your property-tax bill if you own a home," Pritzker said. "If you make less than $250,000, this will show you that you will get tax relief."

Pritzker said 97 percent of Illinoisans will pay less under his new plan.

"This brings tax fairness to this state," Pritzker said. "It will put our state on firmer fiscal footing and will produce revenue of $3.4 billion."

But Pritzker's math does not compute for many watchdog groups and agencies that have spoken out against the graduated income tax.

Illinois Policy Institute noted that the tax has a marriage penalty. The tax does not differentiate between single and joint filers, which means many couples will have to pay more when their combined incomes push them into a higher tax bracket.

Rep. Mark Batinikc (R-Plainfield) told Will County Gazette that the graduated tax would just add fuel to the fire of outmigration from Illinois, causing more people to leave the state.

Rep. Amy Grant (R-Wheaton) joined a group of 43 Republican lawmakers that filed a resolution against the tax proposal. She said special interests were pushing the tax on working families, according to DuPage Policy Journal.

On the other hand, Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter said his organization supports the graduated income tax.

"We represent 300 unions that represent half a million workers in Chicago and Cook County," Reiter said. "The great thing about you, Gov. Pritzker, is you’re the person I thought you would be. You came out of the gate fighting for families right away."

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