STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER: Counterpoint: Don’t give Pritzker-Madigan a blank check with graduated tax amendment

By Greg Baise

“The blank check is being prepared.

Unfortunately, it is very likely that Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and the majority party he controls will place a constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot by the end of the month. The amendment, if approved, would change the way politicians in Springfield are allowed to tax Illinois families and businesses. And make no mistake, it would be a jobs tax on middle-class families.

Madigan, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and all the other spend-happy politicians in Springfield will spin their efforts to change Illinois’ tax code a million ways: It’s a ‘progressive tax.’ It’s a ‘fair tax.’ It’s ‘ensuring everyone pays their fair share.’

But, let’s just call it what it is: A blank check and a jobs tax on middle-class families.

A blank check for the politicians in Springfield signed by Illinois families.

Two of the largest tax hikes in Illinois history in the last eight years weren’t even enough to satisfy their reckless spending habits.

Now, under the guise of a constitutional amendment these politicians — the ones who have spent Illinois literally billions of dollars into the hole — are saying, ‘Trust us with a blank check and your hard-earned money.’

Recall how this began: Newly elected as governor, Pritzker came to office in January pledging to right Illinois’ fiscal ship, and make the tough decisions. Within his first month in office he spent $2 billion without batting an eye. And, rather than making those tough decisions, he’s proposed a massive array of new taxes on every single person in our state.

Then they said: ‘We want to work together in a bipartisan fashion.’ Today, one political party is poised to push through a proposed constitutional amendment unclear as to what the exact tax rates will be and, most importantly, no method of ensuring they can’t raise those tax rates higher on middle-class families and job creators.

The idea of the ‘rich paying more’ has a nice ring to it. But, what they won’t tell you is that some of those states that have passed similar methods of taxation have seen job creators flee in droves — and when many of those job creators leave and stop paying taxes, the politicians turn to the middle class to feed their ever-ravenous spending habits.

At this juncture, it appears the ruling party has the votes to push through their amendment.

‘Let the people decide,’ they say. It looks like the people will have a chance to lend their voice to this battle and have the final say.

But, as the campaign unfolds over the course of the next year and a half, just keep in mind exactly who put forth this grand rewrite of our tax code and ask yourself one question: Would I trust the politicians in Springfield with a blank check to my bank account?”

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Evan Walker