The editors of the Wall Street Journal succinctly characterize Illinois’s situation:
The only two restraints—at least for now—on public union governance in Illinois are GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state’s flat income tax. Democrats hope to do away with both in November.
Democrats in Springfield have filed three constitutional amendments to establish a graduated income tax—the rates won’t be determined until after voters give their assent. The state’s flat 4.95% income tax, believe it or not, is lower than the rate in all its neighbors save Indiana (3.23%). But its property and corporate taxes are among the highest in the country.
I would like to ask a question of the two billionaires, J. B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy, vying for the Democratic nomination for governor. Why don’t they pay their “fair share” in taxes as they demand others in their tax bracket do? There is no barrier to their doing so. Is it more likely that the ultra-rich like Pritzker and Kennedy will meekly surrender more of their earnings to the insatiable maw of the state government or it more likely that they will do as they have in the past—avoiding if not evading taxation including by moving out of state?
And if an amendment to the state’s constitution is adopted allowing a graduated personal income tax and if the subsequent tax increase does not realize enough revenue to fill the gap? Then what?
While they’re seeking constitutional amendments will they seek one that will allow the state to renegotiate its contracts with public employees? My assessment is that they’ll follow historic precedent and won’t.