Illinois: How will we fix our budget problems? Let’s tax millionaires!
posted at 4:41 pm on March 21, 2014 by Bruce McQuain
This worked so well for France that Belgium had a real estate boom with the new tax on millionaires was announced. And New Jersey learned that millionaires have a tendency to leave when confronted with higher taxes. But Illinois? Well, per Michael Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, Illinois is different:
“Well, if they’re in Illinois today, they’re probably so much in love with Illinois that they’re not going to leave,” he said, according to the Tribune–a backhanded acknowledgement of how poorly the state is already doing.
Madigan may also be encouraged by California’s example, where millionaires have largely stayed put, even though Gov. Brown’s tax increase on those earning more than $250,000 has helped the state achieve the second-highest tax rate in the nation. However, Illinois does not enjoy California’s comfortable climate.
I think the comparison of Illinois to New Jersey is more apt than a comparison to California. Millionaires don’t have to travel far to find a lower tax state near Illinois as compared to California. And there’s certainly nothing particularly appealing about Illinois that would cause them to want to stay.
But this seems to be the Democratic answer to everything. Cut spending? Heck no. More efficient and smaller government. Yeah, no! Instead they are interested in balancing their profligacy and costly governanace on those who they believe have been the winners in “life’s lottery”.
The decision will be made by referrendum. And as is noted in the cited article, the reason for this is as much political as fiscal:
The real goal of the proposed referendum may not be fiscal, but political. The winner of the Republican primary this week was billionaire Bruce Rauner, a political newcomer who enjoys close ties to Democrats such as Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, yet has vowed to take on the public sector unions and the Madigan machine.
The referendum is just one way in which Democrats will remind voters of Rauner’s immense wealth, in a repeat of President Barack Obama’s re-election strategy against Mitt Romney.
Indeed. The party of jelousy and spite will use an emotional appeal to voters to pass the tax. Again we’ll be treated to a campaign talking about greed and fairness. Just review the attack pattern used by the Obama campaign and expect a repeat in Illinois. Also remember it isn’t hard to convince others to pass a tax which has someone other than themselves paying it.
Of course, the bottom line is that without significant changes in the way the state government of Illinois governs (less spending and smaller, less intrusive government) this is a band-aid instead of a fix. California will learn that at some point in the not to distant future.