Madison - St. Clair Record

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Pritzker 'fair' tax could cost typical St. Clair County family nearly $400

Their View

By Joe Kaiser, Illinois Policy Institute | Mar 4, 2019


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 would see a $375 increase if Illinois adopted Wisconsin’s tax rates, and a $344 increase if Illinois adopted Iowa’s tax rates.

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.

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 them.

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