Is it a “fair tax” or a “blank check?” Those will be two of the opposing messages Illinois voters will hear between now and November over the governor’s proposal to flip the state from a flat income tax rate to a graduated one.
Police and fire pension costs in towns and larger cities outside Chicago have grown at a greater rate than property taxes. That is forcing some city leaders to make tough decisions on services and staff.
If Illinois’ Constitution prevents lawmakers from curbing rising pension costs, then change the Constitution, advocates say. But experts warn a voter-approved rewrite may lead to a lengthy legal challenge and end, once again, without a permanent solution.
As Illinois debates whether to raise taxes on the rich, IRS data show better off tax filers stayed put when flat tax rates jumped a few years ago despite fears so called job creators would leave the state to avoid paying the increase.
Talk of new Chicago and Downstate casinos is resurfacing among politicians as an answer to government fiscal woes. But casino revenue is off sharply from its heights, and the industry is struggling to attract younger gamblers.
There is often a disconnect between tax policies voters say they back and those they vote for. That’s the dilemma facing Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, who says he wants to amend the state constitution to allow for a graduated tax that will increase the burden on the wealthy.
The top lawyers in Illinois and most other states rarely investigate corruption. That’s by design, not political cowardice.
Years of unfulfilled warnings of imminent fiscal collapse due to pension debt have numbed Illinois voters to a still real threat and given politicians an election year escape hatch to avoid talk about the state’s most difficult problem.
This year’s race for governor is the King Kong vs. Godzilla of big-money politics, rendering small donors irrelevant and impacting races down the ballot as well.
Census estimates in recent years point to a shrinking Illinois, but the severity of the drop gets overstated while attempts to blame it on high taxes get overblown.