By: Mark Glennon*
The just-raise-taxes crowd usually hides from the question of how much taxes would have to be raised to end our fiscal crisis. But the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board last week pulled its pants down to say they really just don’t know what they’re talking about.
The article, linked here, starts with the usual: We’ll just have to pay up. That’s the cost of past mismanagement and of “living in a vibrant city instead of some suburb,” they say.
But it goes on to say the new property tax under discussion probably won’t be enough to balance CPS’ budget, which still isn’t balanced, and “we’re not sure how big the gap will be.”
Admire their candor on that one point. Unfortunately, however, they didn’t stop there and went on to say the city’s four major pension funds are being “more sufficiently funded than they have been in years…. This is responsible financial stewardship.”
Um, Sun-Times, the chart on the right shows what you’re calling “responsible financial stewardship.” It’s called mañana. Chicago got Springfield to release it from its already deficient pension contribution schedule because it was too high to pay. Chicago has kicked the can as that up-ramp shows (we explained in more detail in our article linked here). At 21%, the unfunded ratio for its pensions is now worse than ever.
“Tax the rich,” in those words, is the editorial board’s specific solution. “We would urge Emanuel to revisit a plan to raise taxes on downtown businesses and high net-worth individuals,” they say.
Do tell us what that plan is, Sun-Times, we must have overlooked it.
And as for conflating businesses with high net-worth individuals, please, progressives, get this through your heads: Corporations don’t pay any taxes. They collect them, and they don’t collect them progressively. People ultimately bear all taxes.
The Sun-Times editorial board has never shown understanding of the numbers we face but that doesn’t stop them from offering solutions. It makes you wonder if they read their own news section, which covers city fiscal issues quite well.
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.