By Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner
Listen to this recent interview. In the space of a few minutes Gov. Pritzker says his purported $3.6 billion progressive tax will go to fix Illinois’ nearly $3 billion dollar deficit and help pay down the state’s $6.5 billion in unpaid bills, all while providing an income tax cut to lower-income Illinoisans.
But then in the same breath, he also implies that the progressive tax can provide property tax relief.
Gov. Pritzker’s being tricky. Any Illinoisan who hasn’t paid much attention to the progressive tax debate so far would come away thinking that the governor was promising property tax relief on top of everything else.
But mathematically, Pritzker can’t deliver all three things.
Here’s specifically what he said in the interview:
- The progressive tax is needed to pay unpaid bills and fix the state’s “almost $3 billion dollar structural deficit.”
- The tax can offer property tax relief. “The only way you can correct for that [high property taxes] is in the income tax.” Senate President Don Harmon has promised the same thing in the past: “The fair income tax would allow us to generate that income at the statewide level and push down the pressure on property taxes.”
- The tax will “actually lower taxes or keep taxes the same for 97 percent of people.”
Here’s the problem with that:
If the progressive tax fixes the budget deficit and delivers a tax cut, then there will be no money for property tax relief.
If Pritzker wants to fix the deficit and provide property tax relief, then he needs to raise billions more in revenue, meaning no tax cuts for anybody.
And if he wants to provide relief on both income and property taxes, then he’ll leave a multi-billion dollar hole in the state’s 2021 budget.
Lets hope there are a few Illinois reporters brave enough to question Gov. Pritzker about his failed progressive tax math.
Read more about how the proposed progressive income tax will fail Illinois:
- Illinois enacting a progressive tax is like Sears attempting a turnaround by hiking prices
- Don’t be fooled by claims that a progressive income tax for Illinois would mean property tax relief
- Pritzker’s progressive tax push: A guide for the ordinary Illinoisan
- What Pritzker’s progressive tax rates will probably look like