By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Less than a week after a group tied to Gov. J.B. Pritzker launched television advertising in favor of the governor’s marquee graduated tax proposal, another dark money group launched a campaign aimed at persuading a group of Democratic legislators to oppose the measure.
Ideas Illinois is calling on four Democrats in the House to oppose “the Pritzker-Madigan Jobs Tax on middle class families.” The representatives targeted in the ads include Monica Bristow of Alton, Jonathan Carroll of Northbrook, Mary Edly-Allen of Libertyville and Terra Costa Howard of Glen Ellyn.
The 30-second spots warn of “another phony sales pitch” by state legislators, with the last five seconds of each spot showing the targeted legislators’ pictures and office phone numbers. The ads will run across the state.
The graduated tax touted by Gov. J.B. Pritzker would require approval from three-fifths supermajorities in the House and Senate to be put on the 2020 presidential ballot. If voters approve it, the Legislature would be given authority to set a graduated tax rate at a later date, replacing the state’s flat rate.
There are 74 Democrats in the House, meaning that if four of them join the unanimously-opposed House Republican caucus in voting “no,” the amendment would fail to get the 71 votes necessary to appear on the 2020 ballot.
“The politicians in Springfield can stop this massive Jobs Tax now by simply not putting it on the ballot in 2020,” Ideas Illinois Chairman Greg Baise said in a news release. “Ideas Illinois is calling on legislators to protect the interests of middle class families in their districts rather than handing a blank check to Springfield insiders.”
Under the rates proposed by Gov. Pritzker’s office, approximately 20,000 Illinoisans with single or jointly-filed incomes which exceed $1 million would provide $2.7 billion of the estimated $3.4 billion in added revenue expected from the rate increase. Those making between $250,001 and $1 million would provide the rest.
Those whose incomes are below $250,000 – approximately 97 percent of Illinoisans, per Pritzker’s estimates – would see a lower effective rate than they do under the current flat tax rate of 4.95 percent.
Under Pritzker’s plan, only earners whose income exceeds $1 million would be taxed at a flat rate — 7.95 percent — on every penny of income. For all other earners, filing jointly or alone, different rates ranging from 4.75 percent to 7.85 percent would apply to different margins of income.
The lowest bracket’s rate is 4.75 percent and it applies to an earner’s income from $0 to $10,000. Once an earner’s income reaches the second bracket, the 4.75 rate would still apply to the first $10,000, and a 4.9 percent rate would apply from income between $10,001 and $100,000.
This structure continues through bracket three (4.95 percent on income margins between $100,001 and $250,000), bracket four (7.75 percent for income margins between $250,001 and $500,000) and bracket five (7.85 percent for income between $500,001 and $1 million).
But the Ideas Illinois ad said that even if voters approve a constitutional amendment, legislators would not be bound to pass the tax rates currently proposed by Pritzker.
Think Big Illinois, a group run by a former Pritzker campaign staffer which includes the governor among its donors, launched pro-tax ads last week. In a news release Wednesday, it called Ideas Illinois’ effort “the latest in a string of attacks by some of the wealthiest Illinoisans who will do or say anything to avoid being forced to pay their fair share.”