Chicago City Wire

Chicago City Wire

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Chicago GOP chair likens progressive tax to 'eating your seed corn – much worse off in the long term'


By Glenn Minnis | Feb 7, 2020

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker

Chicago Republican Party Chairman Chris Cleveland quakes at the thought of voters passing a constitutional amendment appearing on the ballot in November that would replace the current flat income-tax rate in Illinois in favor of the progressive or graduated system being pushed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Democratic leaders.

“If the tax passes, then the caps will be off,” Cleveland told Prairie State Wire. “They'll be free to tax anyone at any rate. Does anyone really trust the legislature in Springfield to keep tax rates under control?”

Cleveland’s skepticism comes despite Pritzker’s insistence that only the state’s most wealthy residents will be impacted by the rising tax rates and that everyone else's rates will remain intact.

Chicago Republican Party Chairman Chris Cleveland

“The tax will not work,” Cleveland said. “In the short term, it will generate more revenue. Over the longer term, businesses and people will move and revenue will decline. It's like eating your seed corn. Long term, you're much worse off.”

Cleveland points to similar instances in California and Connecticut, where voters were persuaded to sign off on a progressive tax system only to end up with something entirely different from what had been advertised. In California, revenues generated from the tax were barely half of what was promised, and Connecticut has lost more than $10 billion and 360,000 jobs since implementing the progressive or graduated income-tax structure.

“This tax will be an economic disaster,” Cleveland said. “Under Democratic rule, Illinois has been in decline for a long while. How they think that tax increases are going to fix things is beyond me.”

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