The math doesn’t add up for Gov. Pritzker’s “fair tax” promises

March 12, 2019

Pritzker's progressive income tax proposal will lead to middle class tax hikes

CHICAGO (March 12, 2019) – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker doubled down on a false choice for residents today during a press conference on his progressive income tax proposal. Ignoring alternative solutions such as pension reform, Gov. Pritzker’s “fair tax” would fail to fulfill his promises to raise $3.4 billion in revenue and fund up to $19 billion in new spending.

Pritzker has so far refused to provide evidence that his revenue estimates add up.

Quote from Orphe Divounguy, chief economist:
“Gov. Pritzker’s progressive income tax is clearly a bridge to higher taxes. The math doesn’t add up. Any tax cut Pritzker is selling today will not raise enough revenue. That means a tax hike for the middle class is around the corner – and they can’t afford it.”


  • Today, Pritzker promised his rates would pay down the bill backlog ($8 billion), fix Illinois’ pension debt ($155 billion) and close a budget deficit ($3.2 billion). He claims the “fair tax” will raise an additional $3.4 billion.
  • According to Illinois Policy Institute’s static estimates, revenue from Pritzker’s proposed income tax rates would bring in only $2.4 billion.
  • Dynamic estimates, which consider how businesses and individuals react to tax increases, reveal the revenue adds up to only $1.4 billion, falling significantly short.
  • The Pritzker administration has so far refused to release its methodology and assumptions for the $3.4 billion revenue estimate.
  • In order to fully implement Pritzker’s promised spending, the typical Illinois family would see an income tax hike of $2,425 and $3,508.
  • Meanwhile, the Illinois Policy Institute’s comprehensive budget plan offered bipartisan solutions for closing the budget deficit, paying down debt and building up a rainy day fund.
    • Sen. Chuck Weaver and Rep. Deanne Mazzochi are carrying bills, SJRCA 9 and HJRCA 21, to fix Illinois’ pension crisis by protecting already earned benefits.
    • Rep. Rita Mayfield and Sen. Tom Cullerton’s school district efficiency bills, HB 305 and SB 1838, would make spending on education more efficient by prioritizing the classroom and provide property tax relief.

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