The defeat of the graduated income tax amendment will provide learning moments for years to come.
How could an idea that polls showed had support at one time end up losing so badly?
A lot of observers agreed the supporters were late in starting to get their message out (read advertising which is where too many people get most of their information in elections) which allowed opponents to frame the message.
And the opponents successfully framed it as a sort of Festivus-style airing of grievances on government. Think your property tax bill is too high? Vote against the amendment. Think all politicians are crooks? Vote against the amendment. Don’t like public employees getting pensions? Vote against the amendment.
Some of the advertising was misleading to say the least, but it was effective and the supporters didn’t develop a good rebuttal.
So the voters have spoken and now it’s time to sit back and see who gets hit by the fallout.
Speaking of which, Pritzker wasted no time in emphasizing there will indeed be fallout from the vote.
It came on Wednesday during his regular coronavirus briefing. In between blaming billionaires, millionaires and Republicans for the amendment’s defeat, Pritzker said he would be talking to legislative leaders to map a way forward. He talked about “deep and painful cuts” coming to the budget. Those cuts will be deep and painful because courts have protected spending on significant parts of the budget, meaning cuts must be focused on a smaller area.
That the state is in a bad way financially is no surprise to anyone. The budget passed last spring gave the state authority to borrow up to $5 billion from the feds, an acknowledgment that demands on government were out stripping revenues. If the graduated tax had been approved, the state would have had something north of an extra $1 billion in revenue for the remainder of this fiscal year.
The coronavirus pandemic has simultaneously increased the demand for state services (which means spending) while putting the squeeze on some, but not all, state revenue.
Republican lawmakers will regularly remind people that Pritzker has twice ordered state agency directors to identify cuts that could be made to the budget, but those cuts have never been shared with the minority party and, they say, there is precious little to show for them. (Pritzker said the state has been implementing “efficiencies” and other cost reductions).
It seems like this time those cuts Pritzker alluded to are going to have to live up to their billing, as difficult as that may be, or his credibility on budget issues is going to dissolve.
Fallout from the election also hit the Senate Republicans who lost another seat Tuesday, knocking their number down to 18.
Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington announced he wouldn’t seek another term as leader just a day after the election. He remains a senator.
A day after that, Senate Republicans held a private caucus and elected Sen. Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods as the new leader. The quickness that it happened indicated McConchie was lining up support well before this week.
It’s tough being the leader of a super minority caucus so we’ll see how McConchie fares in the job.
“I will never forget that some of the wealthiest and most powerful interests in Illinois did everything in their power to put the burden of this on workers and their families instead of shouldering some of the burden themselves.” Pritzker, seeming to suggest some folks ought not to expect any favors from the government for a while.
“There is a point at which there’s no doubt that without revenue some of those cuts will start to hit things that do affect working families and I don’t know that anybody wants that to happen.” Pritzker, when asked if a tax hike could be in the future.
Contact Doug Finke: firstname.lastname@example.org, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr
Region: Springfield,Feeds,Opinion,Region: Central,City: Springfield
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November 6, 2020 at 01:20PM