By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner
Illinois gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker has a new TV ad where he promises to raise taxes on the rich – on guys like him and Gov. Bruce Rauner – while lowering taxes on the middle class.
Don’t buy it. It’s an empty promise. He’ll end up taxing the middle class as well.
The proof is in the tax rates of Illinois’ neighboring states. Just look at how they tax the middle class. Their rates – whether headline or effective – are typically higher than those in Illinois, unless it’s Indiana or Michigan. They have low flat tax structures.
Look at Iowa. The state taxes marginal income between $14,382 and $23,970 at a rate of 6.12 percent. Even incomes between $47,940 and $71,910, certainly middle class, are taxed at a marginal rate of almost 8 percent.
Or look at Minnesota, its lowest marginal rate of 5.35 percent is higher than Illinois’ flat 4.95 percent rate. The tax rates only go up from there.
Adopting a progressive tax scheme that’s anything like our neighbors’ would actually punish middle-income workers and working families. That’s true even when taking effective tax rates, which include exemptions and deductions, into account.
Whether you’re an individual earning $70,000 or two married mid-career public school teachers, you end up paying more under their progressive tax schemes. Click here for a broader review of the effective progressive income tax rates of Illinois’ neighbors.
Graphics amended 9/24/18. See note at end of piece.
Pritzker isn’t telling the truth about his tax plan – he won’t even give Illinoisans any specifics. But he should be forced to – by the media, the political elite and Illinois voters.
Pritzker promises to spend billions and billions more on everything from education to healthcare to pensions. But he can’t do that without hitting up the middle class – just as politicians have done in neighboring states and around the country.
That’s the reality of the progressive tax schemes surrounding Illinois.
The tax hike is being sold as a cure-all, but it will only end up perpetuating Illinois’ fiscal crisis. All at the expense of the middle class.
Note on amended graphics: Wirepoints changed its state-to-state income tax comparison to FY 2017 from FY 2018 because 2017 provides a more appropriate like-for-like comparison between tax structures because: (1) Changes are still being made to 2018 state-level tax exemptions and deductions due to the TJCA and its changes to federal tax law; (2) Kentucky moved to a flat income tax in 2018; using 2017 allows for a comparison to KY’s previous progressive tax structure.
Read more from Wirepoints about attempts to impose a progressive tax:
- Madigan’s mistake: Illinois Speaker lauds progressive tax schemes that hit middle-income earners
- Another dishonest article supporting progressive income tax
- Don’t count on a progressive income tax to save Illinois
- Sham panacea of progressive income tax starts getting exposed
- Rising property taxes and stagnant incomes: A lethal combination for Illinoisans
- Simple math shows absurdity of Illinois’ progressive tax cure