Pritzker’s character seen as fair game in new TV ad opposing his tax plan

on May6
by | Comments Off on Pritzker’s character seen as fair game in new TV ad opposing his tax plan |

2019-05-06 06:00:05

A dark money group opposing Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “fair tax” plans to launch a lengthy TV ad attack Monday that calls the tax shift “unfair” and dubs the billionaire governor untrustworthy in light of a reported federal investigation into his own property tax savings.

With just three weeks to go before the Illinois General Assembly adjourns, Ideas Illinois fired off a six-figure media blitz — with a TV ad to run in Springfield on broadcast and cable TV until the end of the legislative session — to try to thwart the Illinois House from passing Pritzker’s preferred graduated income tax plan. The buy also includes digital ads in Chicago, and more mailers and digital ads in six targeted districts.

The Illinois Senate last week breezed through a vote on a constitutional amendment to remove the flat income tax structure from the constitution. The Illinois House will soon take up the amendment and corresponding legislation detailing the rates.

The new TV ad — called “Unfair” — questions why the state should trust a billionaire governor to enact a “fair tax” if he’s under federal investigation.

“J.B. Pritzker says his tax plan is all about fairness,” the narrator says. “Can we trust him?” the narrator asks as news clips of Pritzker’s reported federal investigation roll.

“That’s not fair. That’s fraudulent. Maybe even criminal,” the narrator says. “Don’t let him cheat us again. Say no to his unfair jobs tax.”

“This is about trust and fairness and we simply cannot trust a governor under federal investigation for dodging his own taxes, while he prepares to sock middle class families with his own unfair jobs tax,” Ideas Illinois spokesman Jason Heffley said in a statement about the ad.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last year that Pritzker bought the historic mansion next door to his home, let it fall into disrepair — and then argued it was “uninhabitable” to win nearly $230,000 in property tax breaks. And WBEZ last month reported Pritzker, his wife and brother-in-law are under federal investigation for the tax break in a probe that began in October.

The toilets had been disconnected, and the home had “no functioning bathrooms or kitchen,” according to documents Pritzker’s lawyers filed with Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios.

A Sept. 28 inspector general’s report found that Pritzker actually saved $331,432.03. Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard wrote in the report — obtained by the Sun-Times — that the assessor’s office was “the victim of sworn affidavits containing false representations.”

At a news conference last month, Pritzker said any review of his tax savings “will show that the rules were followed.” Asked if the probe will affect his push for a graduated income tax, Pritzker replied: “all of these things will pass.”

Pritzker said he has “no concerns at all” about criminal charges. And his attorney Marc Elias, a partner with the Perkins Coie law firm, said in a statement that “neither the governor nor the first lady have been contacted by law enforcement regarding the property tax appeal.”


Senate Democrats advance own income tax plan — and Pritzker says that’s fair
Spring break ending, legislators go to pot, gambling, Pritzker’s budget
Story of fed probe into toilet scandal puts Pritzker’s agenda in jeopardy
Pritzker: ‘No concerns’ about fed probe of property tax appeal
Fact-check: Pritzker-allied group’s claim about other states’ income tax unfair
Fact-check: Attack ad should lay off calling Pritzker’s plan a ‘jobs tax’
‘Fair tax’ or ‘jobs tax’? Democrats launch Pritzker’s tax fight as GOP objects
Expect hard push from Pritzker for progressive income tax
J.B. Pritzker moves to mop up toilet mess — vows to pay back $330,000 tax break
Game of thrones? Watchdog sees ‘scheme to defraud’ in Pritzker toilet tax break

Think Big Illinois, a dark money group that’s being largely funded by Pritzker, began running another television ad statewide in late April. The latest ad highlights their pitch that only those making more than $250,000 a year would see an income tax hike, with those making more than $1 million a year paying the highest rate. The group ran its first TV ad on March 21.

Ideas Illinois, led by former Illinois Manufacturers Association head Greg Baise, has argued Pritzker’s plan will punish the middle class. After the WBEZ story broke, Baise implored Pritzker to release his tax returns to be “transparent with his own taxes.” The group says the tax will also harm job creators in the state and is being pushed by Pritzker and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan “with zero transparency and zero accountability.”

Pritzker’s plan proposed that earnings from $250,001 to $500,000 would be taxed at 7.75 percent, and income from $500,001 to $1 million would be taxed at 7.85 percent. Income over $1 million would be taxed 7.95 percent.

Under current law, all personal income is taxed at 4.95 percent and corporate income at 7 percent.

The three pieces of legislation passed by the Senate last week differ a bit from Pritzker’s preferred plan. Changes include raising the top income tax rate to 7.99 percent — up from Pritzker’s preferred 7.95 percent — and separating rates for single and joint filers, an issue many brought up when Pritzker unveiled his preferred rates in March. The corporate tax rate within the package would also be raised to 7.99 percent.

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