Chicago City Wire

Chicago City Wire

Saturday, March 28, 2020

GOP political strategist: Progressive tax could cost Illinois more than 56,000 jobs


By Glenn Minnis | Mar 25, 2020

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker |

Republican political strategist Chris Robling fears the more than 56,000 jobs Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s progressive tax proposal is predicted to cost the state would only be the start of worse developments.

“I’ve said from the first day it was proposed that this tax plan is a recipe for disaster for the middle class and prosperity as a whole in Illinois,” Robling told Chicago City Wire.     

Robling’s argument picks up steam based on the findings of recent Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) analysis, which concludes the losses brought on by the progressive tax would be in the neighborhood of 56,366 jobs statewide, easily outpacing the 45,000 jobs gained across the state in all of 2019. On a per capital basis, adjusted to take into account the number of employed residents, Chicago would lose 22,700 jobs, but likely many more given there is more industry concentrated in the city than in other areas of the state.

“I believe every word of IPI’s findings,” Robling added. “My only thing is I believe it could be even more jobs lost.”

Robling has long been one of the loudest critics of Pritzker's plan to raise tax rates for the state’s wealthiest residents.

“This is a plan to tax the middle class to pay for the Democrats’ promises to public employee unions,” he previously told Chicago City Wire. “The unions have been their single largest source of contributions. Under Pritzker, Democrats are trying to pay back the unions for all they’ve done for them with our money.”

In November voters will decide whether the state constitution should be amended to allow lawmakers to make the switch to the progressive system.

Until then, Robling hopes as many voters as possible will familiarize themselves with the progressive tax system’s checkered history.

Since similar systems were enacted, the IPI study notes, revenues in California have been barely half of what was promised and Connecticut has lost more than $10 billion and 360,000 jobs since switching to a progressive income tax rate.

“There’s no question more people in Illinois will end up voting with their feet if this thing passes,” he said.

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