Pritzker ranks 4th-worst governor for economic freedom
In a new report on America’s 50 governors, Gov. J.B Pritzker was ranked 47th because of the harm he’s done to the state economy. Voters saved him from a lower rank by rejecting his ‘fair tax.’
Gov. J.B Pritzker finds himself near the bottom of a new report on how America’s governors are guiding their state economies.
The American Legislative Exchange Council’s rankings are in the 2021 report on Economic Freedom: Grading America’s 50 Governors. The report ranked Pritzker overall at No. 47 – fourth from the bottom – by using a combination of Pritzker’s policies and the state’s economic performance under his leadership to form a list of 12 criteria.
One measure was Illinois’ 2021 economic performance: 48th in the nation, the third worst. Economic performance was mainly held back by Illinoisans moving out of the state. Illinois lost population during 2021 in 81 of 102 counties.
Voters prevented Pritzker from ranking even lower by defeating his state income tax hike, said Jonathan Williams, chief economist for ALEC.
“Voters in Illinois saved him from becoming 50th if they would have passed the progressive income tax that was on the ballot recently that I know he advocated very strongly in favor of,” Williams said.
Pritzker invested $58 million of his own dollars in the campaign to pass the “fair tax,” which would have allowed Illinois to start taxing retirement income and allowed state lawmakers to gradually increase taxes on different income brackets. Voters soundly rejected the tax in 2020, 55% to 45%.
Williams also pointed to pension debt as a major issue for Illinois.
“Whether it’s the massive amount of debt with Illinois’ public pension liabilities, whether we look at the income taxes on corporate income, personal income, down the line of all the things that we measure,” Williams said.
ALEC’s rankings feature a new metric for 2021: how states spent their federal pandemic relief funds. Illinois still has an outstanding balance of unemployment debt that could be paid down using federal relief. A proposal to use $2.7 billion in federal funds falls short of the $4.5 billion debt and would trigger job-killing payroll taxes mandated by federal law to refill the unemployment trust fund.
State leaders have also given Illinois’ economy another potential hit by pushing Amendment 1. If voters pass the constitutional change Nov. 8, public union bosses will be empowered to demand and strike over a virtually limitless array of issues guaranteed to drive up taxation in a state already suffering under the nation’s highest tax burden.