Pritzker’s ‘allies’ are hurting his drive for graduated income tax – Crain’s Chicago Business

Pritzker seems quite capable of that. I wonder about his allies. A prime example is the Chicago Teachers’ Union, which lately has been so over the top I have to wonder whether Jesse Sharkey & Co. have secretly become a wing of the Republican Party.

In a statement released today, Sharkey, who recently was elected CTU president, did everything but yell “whoopie” about the prospect of all those billions and billions of dollars in new revenues running into the state treasury—and to CTU members.

“It is only through taxing those who have received every benefit of the current economic recovery—and therefore can afford to pay more—that we fund the services that everyone else depends upon,” Sharkey declared.

“Revenue from the new tax must go to immediate needs for the vast majority of Illinoisans: lower class sizes; librarians and enough school clinicians for our students; affordable college tuition; access to health care; affordable housing; and stable programs to address street violence.”

Notice what led the list: lower class sizes, more librarians and school medical personnel—all of whom (in Chicago Public Schools, at least) just happen to be represented by the Chicago Teachers Union.

Not a word in the statement referenced the benefits of returning the state to fiscal stability after the chaos of the Bruce Rauner years. Or how we actually may begin to pay down the state’s $8 billion backlog of unpaid bills. Or the need for pension reform, since the unfunded liability of $133.5 billion is eating up money for everything else.

Nope, instead the message was: Look at all the new money we get for all of our stuff, and look at how we’re whacking around those evil rich people.

That doesn’t strike me as a winning message.

Far more reasoned in its reaction was another left-leaning labor group, SEIU Healthcare. Its message was the same as Pritzker’s: fairness.

“This has always been an issue about fairness,” it said. “We have seen the impact of our current flat income tax law as the wage gap has widened and the rich get richer. It is blatantly unfair to tax the incomes of low-wage and middle-class workers at the same rate as corporate CEOs and the wealthy.”

In the end, CTU’s unlimited demands for higher taxes to enrich itself might not make a difference. I bounced Sharkey’s statement off a leader of anti-graduated tax forces, who asked not to be named but says rank-and-file now are positively “giddy” about all the new revenue they’ll have to work with. After the graduated tax vote, “if all goes down this week (capital, gaming, liquor), Illinois citizens and business will be stunned at the costs,” that source said.

Perhaps. But it’s never smart to play into your enemy’s hand.

CTU has plenty of internal ways to gin up its members to vote for the amendment. Scaring the rest of us with unending demands for more spending only will backfire.



via “Illinois Politics” – Google News

May 28, 2019 at 04:20PM

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