J.B. Pritzker Admits He Would Raise Taxes and Make Illinois Families Pay More

Illinois voters already face some of the highest tax burdens in the nation.

Illinois Democrat gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker openly admitted in an editorial board interview with Crain’s Chicago Business yesterday that he would seek massive tax hikes if elected Governor – even more than previously disclosed by his campaign.

Pritzker’s openness about raising taxes if elected poses challenges for his nascent campaign, since Illinois voters already face some of the highest tax burdens in the nation. Pritzker’s position in favor of tax increases is in stark contrast to that of Governor Bruce Rauner, who has consistently advocated for structural reforms and lower taxes as the solution to Illinois’ fiscal challenges.

This is not the first time Pritzker has detailed his openness to tax hikes. He began his campaign amidst audio recordings documenting that he favored a large increase in the state income tax, and has opposed a property tax freeze.

Pritzker has also come under fire for not paying his fair share of taxes on his second gold-coast Chicago mansion, getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in politically connected tax breaks. Now, he’s running on raising taxes for others.

Illinois may need another tax hike to balance the books and pay for needed public investments, even if the progressive income tax eventually comes about.

That was the fiscal bottom line from Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzkertoday as the Chicago entrepreneur and investor, who’s moved ahead in some recent polls, met with Crain’s Editorial Board for a wide-ranging interview.

… However, even if waste is cut, some new money will be needed to pay bills and meet tomorrow’s needs, Pritzker said.

Some will come from amending the Illinois Constitution to allow a progressive income tax, something that would require a referendum vote, likely in 2020. Pritzker said he could not estimate how much that would pull in, but he projected the state would net another $300 million to $700 million by legalizing and taxing marijuana.

Would that be enough to meet all the needs while growth accelerates?

“No. But it depends on how you prioritize,” Pritzker replied.

Would boosted income from a progressive income tax suffice?

“I don’t know,” he replied. “I haven’t proposed a budget. . . .(But) it’s clear that we are underfunding schools.”

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