Pritzker price tag: Candidate’s proposed policy agenda adds up to $18 billion

October 16, 2018

This spending could cost the state about $31.3 billion in foregone economic activity and 132,000 fewer new jobs in the first year alone.

Following heated debates with limited answers, new research from Illinois Policy exposes voters to what one gubernatorial candidate has been unwilling to share thus far: The price tag on his policy agenda.

The findings in “Pritzker price tag: Candidate’s spending promises require doubling state income tax” reveal enacting all of J.B. Pritzker’s proposed policies would cost taxpayers $13 billion to $18 billion in new spending.

Highlights from the analysis:

  • If implemented, taxpayers could see their personal state income taxes nearly double, jumping to 9.95 percent from the current 4.95 percent income tax rate.
  • A tax hike of this magnitude could cost Illinois up to $31.3 billion in foregone economic activity and 132,000 new jobs in the first year alone.
  • The typical family in Illinois making just over $79,000 would see their state income tax bill rise to more than $7,000 from $3,500 in order to pay for Pritzker’s spending promises.

“None of these promises are possible without massively increasing Illinois’ already out of control spending and doubling income taxes on residents. The effects of a potential income tax hike of this magnitude would be devastating for Illinois families,” said Adam Schuster, director of budget and tax research at Illinois Policy. “Any gubernatorial candidate who truly wants to fix Illinois’ finances and provide tax relief to hard-working residents has to get spending growth under control. The only way to do that is to support meaningful pension reform and a constitutional spending cap amendment that ties lawmakers’ ability to spend to taxpayers’ ability to pay.”

The full report, “Pritzker price tag: Candidate’s spending promises require doubling state income tax,” is available online here:


  • Illinois Policy calculated costs through Pritzker’s public statements on potential spending.
  • The breakdown of Pritzker’s proposals includes:
    • Cost of current government obligations annually: $3.8 billion to $5 billion
    • Infrastructure spending: An additional $4 billion including a “comprehensive 21st Century Capital Bill” to provide “broadband internet for all”
    • “Full funding” for K-12 education: $5 billion to $7.281 billion on top of current spending
    • Universal government-provided preschool: from $52.8 million to $1 billion
    • Higher education spending: An additional $330 million to $724 million
  • Though Pritzker has campaigned on the need for a progressive income tax, Illinois’ existing flat rate tax structure would remain in place until at least fiscal year 2021, because the first time lawmakers would be able to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot is the 2020 general election.