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Column

GUEST COLUMN: Should taxpayers trust Chicago Democrats?

This question is central to progressive tax debate

Andrew Chesney
Andrew Chesney

There’s just no getting around it – progressive income tax proponents hinge their arguments on taxpayers trusting Chicago Democrats.

Under the proposed constitutional amendment involving the progressive income tax, rates are not set by voters, but rather left to be set later by agreement of House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker. At the crux of this debate, remains the questions, “Do you trust these guys with a blank check? Have they earned that trust?”

It’s no big secret that flat tax rates are more difficult to increase than progressive tax rates – it’s more difficult politically as well, given that progressive tax rates will only require a simple majority vote. Over the years, there have been several flat income tax rate increases that were passed with supermajority votes. As I’ve noted before, we do not have to look that far back into our history (1969-1982) to remember when Illinois’ personal income tax rate was 2.5%, nearly half our current 4.95% rate. With each one of those rate increases, we were promised that if we simply raised the rates, our state’s problems would be fixed.

With each of these rate increases, promises were made that the condition of the state would improve, and in each case, promises were broken. Our infrastructure is in terrible shape and school funding is still a house of cards, predicated on high property tax rates.

Now we see the drip-drop of the Chicago machine percolating new arguments on a nearly daily basis about the woes we will face if we fail to trust them to once again garner more taxes and deliver poor results. When visiting the Illinois Democratic Caucus social media sites, you will see some of these messages:

• “Fair tax opponents: Cut $1.2 billion from schools. School closures. Teacher layoffs. Higher property taxes.” Yeah, a progressive tax will certainly fix those problems – just trust them!

• “Opponents of a fair tax: Kick 16,853 seniors off Meals on Wheels.” Meals on Wheels is a federally funded program, but don’t let facts get in the way.

The Chicago Democrats do not stand for the poor and disenfranchised. We have a Democrat governor who is the second wealthiest elected official in U.S. history. We have a Democrat House speaker who makes a fortune off helping wealthy liberals appeal their property taxes to avoid paying their “fair share.” We have a Democrat Senate president who is unabashed in using economic policies like sin taxes to drive down consumption of high-tax products and services. All three are schemes against the taxpayers of Illinois – whether it’s using smoke and mirrors to shield unbalanced budgets or literally ripping toilets out of a personal mansion to avoid paying property taxes.

Does anyone honestly feel these three “leaders” are looking out for middle-class taxpayers? Today they come for the wealthy. When they run out of their money, they’ll come for you.

Trust is not given, it is earned. These “leaders” have done nothing to earn it. Remember that if you get an opportunity to hand over your trust and a blank check to the trustworthiness of these three Chicago Democrats, buyer beware.

Note to readers: State Rep. Andrew Chesney, R-Freeport, represents Illinois’ 89th District. He can be reached at 815-232-0774 or repchesney.com.

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