‘FAIR’ TAX COULD COST TYPICAL ST. CLAIR COUNTY FAMILY NEARLY $400
Illinois Policy Institute/
Gov. J.B. Pritzker claims his progressive
income tax will only affect the rich. But Illinoisans making as little
as $26,100 would see an income tax hike under rates Pritzker cited in
his budget address.
Though Gov. J.B. Pritzker has mentioned Wisconsin and Iowa as
models for a fairer income tax, the typical Illinois family in St. Clair County
would pay nearly $400 more in taxes each year with either of those states’
income tax rates.
A median income family with two children making $68,481 in St. Clair County pays
$2,994 under Illinois’ current flat tax. But if Illinois adopted Iowa’s
progressive rate structure, that tax bill would jump to $3,338. It would jump
even higher, to $3,369, under Wisconsin’s.
Calling the rate structure a “fair tax,” Pritzker cited these
two states in his 2019 budget address as examples for Illinois to follow.
Specifically, he said Illinois “can accomplish” a progressive income tax with a
“more competitive rate structure than Wisconsin and Iowa,” though it’s unclear
how he’s defining competition. Middle-income taxpayers in St. Clair County –
already dealing with high property taxes and an income tax just hiked in 2017 –
might not agree that yet another tax hike is either fair or competitive.[to top of second column]
Experts second that. A recent Tax Foundation study
on Wisconsin’s tax code went so far as to recommend exchanging its
progressive income tax for a flat income tax as one way to make the
state more competitive. This is a move both North Carolina and
Kentucky have made in recent years.
Pritzker’s “fair tax” isn’t the only progressive-tax idea floating
around in Springfield that should have middle-class taxpayers
worried, either. Another progressive income tax proposal introduced
in 2017 would have raised income taxes on Illinoisans earning as
little as $17,300 a year.
With either proposal, the middle class gets hit hard, despite
Pritzker’s fairness rhetoric. Illinois families cannot afford
another tax hike, and it certainly wouldn’t be fair to push one on
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