What Happens When IL Raises Taxes; Trauma Informed Healthcare; Sears Suing Former Chairman

April 23, 2019
 

Keith Srakocic/AP

Illinois Republicans say that changing our income tax system will drive businesses out of the state. Is that true? We’ll look back into our recent history and talk about whether taxes really cause people to leave. Plus, Illinois healthcare professionals are working on the best ways to help children deal with trauma, including a new collaborative at the University of Chicago. And, the long decline of Sears has taken an unexpected turn. The retailer is now suing its former chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert saying that he stole billions of dollars. 

Illinois voters could have a big decision to make in November of 2020. 

If Governor Pritzker and Illinois Democrats have their way, you’ll be voting on whether to amend our state’s constitution so that lawmakers can change Illinois’ income tax system. Right now the rate is the same, no matter how much or little you make. Governor Pritzker says we should have a progressive tax system where higher-earners pay more, and lower-earners pay less.

You’ve probably already heard a lot about this issue including political ads from dark money groups. Others are saying this will be yet another blow to Illinois’s business climate and maybe even cause more people to leave the state.

But what actually happens when a state changes its income taxes? We already have some idea thanks in part to reporting by the Better Government Association.

Bob Secter and Tim Jones reported on this for the BGA. Bob is the senior editor and Tim is a regular contributor, focusing on Illinois policy and economics. 

Therese McGuire also joined us. She's a professor of strategy with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. 


Plus-- 

When we report on new state of the art medical facilities to treat trauma victims, whether they’re in Rockford, Champaign or Chicago, we’re usually talking about the ability to quickly respond or provide urgent medical care.

But, many of trauma’s long-lasting effects are left untreated and this is especially true for the youngest of patients.

This is the big idea behind a lot of the work being done by healthcare professionals all over the state. The most recent example is a new collaborative at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital.

WBEZ’s Natalie Moore recently reported on this. She joined us from our studio in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Brad Stollbach also joined us on the line. He’s a pediatric trauma psychologist at Comer Children’s Hospital.

And Colleen Cichetti is the Executive Director of the Center for Childhood Resilience. She joined us on the line from Chicago. 

And-- 

Last fall, an Illinois company that was once the largest retailer on earth officially filed for bankruptcy. We're talking, of course, about Sears. And even though Sears has been around since 1893, listeners know that these days, it’s a shell of its former self.

And when we talk about Sears and its decline, we usually point to the ways it didn’t adapt to the modern economy, especially, the growth of online retail.

But Sears says that its former chairman and CEO, Eddie Lampert, is another big reason why the company lost so much money and jobs. So much so, that Sears has now sued him.

And Sears says that these losses weren’t just because of bad decisions. They say these losses amount to theft.

In the lawsuit Sears says, “Altogether, Lampert caused more than $2 billion of assets to be transferred to himself and Sears’ other shareholders, and beyond the reach of Sears’ creditors.”

Suzanne Kapner covers retail for the Wall Street Journal. She spoke with us from their newsroom in New York. We also were joined by Margaret Wright, an corporate law attorney and an assistant professor at the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business.