Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker during the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Inauguration Ball in January | twitter.com/JBPritzker
A tax package passed by the Illinois state Senate last week to push Gov. J.B. Pritzker's revenue-raising agenda includes a property tax freeze and other "gimmicks" that are not what they seem, the founder of an online news outlet said during a recent interview.
"The property tax freeze was a lame, transparent and phony attempt to make the tax increase more palatable," Wirepoints Founder and Executive Editor Mark Glennon said during an email exchange with Prairie State Wire. "First, it would apply only to school taxes. While that's the largest item on your property tax bill, there are many others. Second, it's entirely contingent on meeting the new state school funding formula and other education items, which would cost a stunning $650 million per year, and nobody really thinks that will ever happen. Third, it exempts new property taxes for payments on bonded debt and pensions."
Glennon's comments came shortly after his recent article in Wirepoints that referred to tax legislation passed by the Senate last week as "more notable" for the "shamelessness of the gimmickry they added.
Wirepoints founder Mark Glennon | wirepoints.org/
"For starters, they must have figured that, since they were already playing the $.95 pricing psychology, they might as well make it $.99," the article continued. "They raised the top income tax rate to 7.99 percent from Pritzker's 7.95 percent. For single filers, the new maximum rate would kick in at $750,000 and apply to all income. That’s $250,000 lower than under Prtizker's plan. For joint filers, that top rate would kick in at $1 million, as in the governor's plan, and again covers all income."
Illinois' Democratic governor has pushed for a budget rife with new taxes, tax increases and $1 billion in new revenue since his days on the campaign trail, replete with costly fine print that the Illinois Policy Institute has called a "false choice for Illinois." The state Senate passed Pritzker's income tax plan and placed on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment to replace Illinois' flat income tax with a graduated income tax that backers say will annually raise more than $3.3 billion a year.
None of that is what Illinoisans need, Glennon said.
"What lawmakers are really overlooking, I think, is that confidence must be restored, and obvious stunts like a phony property tax freeze only make that problem worse," he said. "Illinoisans know that any tax increase, regardless of whom it falls on, will go down the drain of incompetence and corruption just like their current taxes."
What Illinoisans want are "drastic reforms that would return Illinois to competitive levels of service and tax burden," Glennon said.
"Those reforms include big ones like real pension reform, which would take a state constitutional amendment, and fair maps," he said. "They know dozens of smaller reforms are essential too, to right the ship. The last thing they want is another tax increase with no reforms, which is where we are headed. Confidence will plunge still further and the tax base will continue to shrink."