Pritzker Dancing on the Backs of Struggling Illinoisans
Governor J.B. Pritzker took a victory lap news conference Sunday in Springfield touting his long list of “accomplishments”: passing a budget, capital plan, recreational marijuana legalization, massive gaming expansion, and a $15 minimum wage.
One couldn’t help but notice beyond billionaire Pritzker’s expensive suit that he was celebrating at the expense of millions of Illinoisans struggling to get by already. It’s sort of like Robin Hood, just the opposite. Pritzker’s new state budget increases spending by nearly $1.5 billion without making any meaningful cuts. It’s woefully out of balance, meaning it spends more than it takes in like the state constitution requires. It would have been worse, as Pritzker was planning a Blagojevich-style move to skip the state’s pension payment until funds fell dramatically from a tree in the latest quarterly tax receipts.
Furthermore, Pritzker’s political machine ran millions of dollars in TV ads this spring supporting his “Fair Tax,” the proposed constitutional amendment that won’t go before voters until November 2020. Even if voters approve it, and that’s if, not when, the earliest the state would see new revenue from that tax increase would be early 2021, some 9 or 10 months after the newly passed budget expires. That means there’s no new money to pay for Pritzker’s expanded spending. With a ballooning deficit this year, and likely next, you can count on Pritzker’s promise that his “Fair Tax” wouldn’t raise taxes on a family making less than $250,000 to be hollow rhetoric when he wants more cash.
The flurry of activity at the end of the legislative session has proven Pritzker is no champion of the middle class. While preaching about a tax bill that will protect middle income earners, he was the proponent of new taxes and fees for infrastructure improvements that kick working class people right in the wallet pocket (if you know what I mean).
He’s hiking the gasoline tax by nearly 20 cents per gallon, increasing vehicle registration fees by another $50, and adding new taxes of almost 10% on daily and monthly parking rates. Think about the custodian who drives an hour to the University of Illinois campus, or a factory worker in the suburbs, far away from an “L” stop. Every dollar they earn goes more and more to the government and less and less to them. J.B. Pritzker doesn’t care about them. He doesn’t care about middle income earners from Chicago to Champaign to Carbondale. He cares about grabbing their tax dollars and making government bigger.
Democrats made gains in 2016 and 2018 demonizing Republicans for support of Donald Trump and wild claims like how a GOP legislature would overturn Roe v. Wade or cut Social Security, which, of course, the state legislature has no authority to do. What Pritzker and Democrats have given voters is an out-of-control government hungry for more tax dollars and hungrier for more spending, all while making it harder for working people to continue to live in Illinois.
Patrick Pfingsten is an Iroquois County native and an award-winning former journalist, public relations strategist and political consultant. Governor Pat Quinn once called him a “professional naysayer.” He also writes for www.forwardthinkingpolitics.com. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.