What Seven Of The Gubernatorial Candidates Would Do About Taxes

March 13, 2018
Pritzker campaign/Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

We’re a week out from the March 20 primary, and so we wanted to break down one of the most important issues for many of you voting for governor: taxes. Some of the candidates want to create new ones, some of the candidates want to reduce them, and some want to keep them pretty much the same. So before you head into the voting booth, let’s take a listen back to what all 7 of the Democrats and Republicans running for Governor had to say. Governor Rauner did not take us up on our invitation to come on the show. But we did link his State of the State address here, which features some of his ideas on tax policy. 

JB Pritzker (D): 

  • “Let's remind everybody that almost every state around Illinois and the majority of states in the United States have moved to a progressive income tax system, which asks the wealthier to pay more and says to the middle class and those striving to get there that they should have tax relief, including in Illinois, that will be property tax relief. And we need to make sure that we use the progressive income tax to pay for the priorities of the state. I believe that a progressive income tax is vitally important for making sure that we pay for the education system in our state... local property taxes are incredibly regressive, the poorest neighborhoods pay the highest rates of property taxes, the wealthiest neighborhoods pay the lowest rates of property taxes . We need to be more like the average state in the US where half of the money comes from the state and half of the money comes from local property taxes. I believe we can get a progressive income tax passed in the state... I’ll also elect democrats that will stand up for progressive income tax and help us pass it and get it on the ballot so voters can vote for it.” 

Rep. Jeanne Ives (R):  

  • "I’d like to take it back to the 3% level. And I’d like to eventually, over time, eliminate the corporate income tax."
  • "Property taxes are a huge issue, it’s a bigger problem than our state income taxes quite frankly because right now it’s confiscatory. The south suburban Cook area has been decimated by high tax rates. And people are losing their homes, government cannot afford to continue along the same path because the residents are leaving. Property taxes don’t need to be frozen at the highest levels, they need to be lowered substantially over time. We’d like to cap them, as Indiana does, but we have to have the reforms in order to do it. If we don’t do it, you’re going to continue to see people flee the state of Illinois over their property taxes. That’s why over 100,000 people left the state of Illinois last year and with them walked nearly 5 billion dollars in income. We have to control property taxes- you are stealing people’s property from them, they’re literally renting their homes from their superintendents"
  • "I’m not in favor of any new taxes in the state of Illinois at this time until we control our budget and control our spending. If you want to talk about realigning our tax system I’m very much open to that. I’d prefer to have taxes on consumption rather than income. If we were to do that right now without any other changes, to decide to enact a tax on retirement income, with no other changes, all that’s going to happen is our retirees will leave the state of Illinois and we can’t afford anybody to leave the state of Illinois…. It’s gotta be looked at holistically and it can’t be done as a stand alone one thing.” 

Sen. Daniel Biss (D): 

  • “Illinois is one of only four states whose constitution says you have to have a flat income tax, who’s constitution says that even though Bruce Rauner made $188 million in 2015, it’s unconstitutional to ask him to pay a higher rate than a teacher or a nurse. That doesn’t make sense, it’s not fair, it’s not consistent with our modern economy and it’s not what our state needs and so we need to repeal that provision so that we can have a tax system that works for ordinary working families, that allows us to bring down property taxes, that allows us to tax the very wealthy, so that we can afford to fully fund our schools and healthcare and human services. If we were to get that done we’d have a state that works for ordinary families but we haven’t done that for so long because of who’s in control in Springfield, because of who pays for the election campaign, and because of the strong political power the very wealthy have. Our campaign is about reversing that and about handing power back to ordinary people so that we have a state that lifts people up across Illinois..." 
  • “There are incredible numbers of dollars cycled through the Chicago Board of Trade and the Mercantile Exchange, and we don’t tax them at all. When you go by a screwdriver at the hardware store you pay 6.25 percent sales tax to the state but when $100 million of trade is done at the board of trade there is not a nickel of tax paid and that just doesn’t make sense. The economy has moved the economy has changed, the financial sector has ballooned, that’s where the money is and because we don’t touch those dollars, we don’t have a state government that can afford to invest in people without overburdening the middle class and the poor and this question of taxing financial transactions. Is a profound difference in the race. Where the other candidates say they’re against it, they say that it’s impractical, what I would say is, if we’re not going to build a tax system that works for the modern economy, we’re not going to have a state that works for our modern society. To have people who have basically become experts explaining how the wealthy can get out of paying their fair share of taxes tell us that we can’t start to ask them to pay their fair share does not make any sense to me.” 

Bob Daiber (D):

  • "I’ve laid out a progressive tax model, right after the first of this year, and that tax model is a progressive tax that’s a scale from one to six percent and I’m the only candidate that’s running, that’s put hard numbers to it. Individuals that I call middle class taxpayers, $45,000-150, would actually go back to the other tax rate of 3.75 and then we would move upwards from there of $150,000 and more paying the current rate of 4.95. But, residents who earn a million dollars or more would pay 6 percent. Also, if we back up on the model, individuals making $45,000 and less and those making $25,000 and less would pay a lesser portion of tax, so those individuals have greater earning powers in our economy. The one thing that this model does that has gotten some people’s attention is I said everybody needs to pay one percent. And that includes retirees because we have to have a way in which we’re going to pay for our pension system.” 

Chris Kennedy (D): 

  • “I’m painfully aware of the notion that people can pretend that they live in Florida or somewhere else and still derive income in the state of Illinois and not pay their fair share of taxes here. I think we should close that loophole, the same loophole that places like New York and California have closed as well. I think we need to look at how we tax internet sales…. The major sellers on the internet are not paying local taxes in a way that I believe they should. I believe there’s some fairness that needs to be recreated in our structure so that everybody believes in the integrity. More important than anything else is the idea that we need to transition away from a reliance on property taxes to a reliance on a graduated progressive income tax, allowing the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share. And if we give them a growing economy, if we reinvest in our state, I think they’ll be just fine with that. I very much favor a progressive income tax where people who make more money, who have more disposable income can pay taxes out of that disposable income..." 

Tio Hardiman (D): 

  • “Number one we should have a scale from 1 to 10 percent. People making $50,000 or less should be paying only 1 to 2 percent taxes here. If you’re making $50,000 plus to about $100,000 you should be in a range of about 3 to 5 percent of your taxes there. And then, anybody making like $150,000 to $250,000 should be in a range from 6 to 7 percent taxes and then if you’re a millionaire, on your way to becoming a billionaire, you should be in a range of 8 to 10 percent. That’s what’s called a progressive tax and a graduated tax. Now, I’m willing to negotiate with a person who makes $150,000 to $250,000 maybe we can land them right in there… we understand that but if you’re making millions and billions there’s no reason in the world that you should not, you should definitely be paying higher taxes in other words. So that’s a scale that we’re proposing in our 2020 plan to move the state of Illinois forward here. There’s no way in the world Tio Hardiman and Patricia Avery would ever consider taxing retirement income, no way.” 

Dr. Robert Marshall (D):

  • “I’m the only one that’s opposed to a graduated income tax and I’m also opposed to any further increases in the flat tax. 4.9 percent is high enough. We just had a raise, and we have to see how that increase is going to work out, first before we can propose any more. What I want to do is find new sources of income, legalizing marijuana throughout the entire state will create a whole new industry of 30-40,000 new jobs and hundreds of millions in new tax revenue throughout the entire state. Another new source of income is casino gambling for Chicago. This is for the 55 million tourists who come into Chicago... I look for new sources of revenue and I’m opposed to any increase in the graduated tax... Keep it like it is right now. If I can I’d like to lower it down to what it was before… we just had a recent increase, let’s see how that works out. Our economy is improving slowly, day by day, and that by itself bring in extra revenue, you don’t have to increase the rate on top of that.” 

Governor Rauner (R) is also running for re-election. Although he did not take us up on our invitation to come on the show, he did lay out his tax plan in his 2018 State of the State address.