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Friday, August 24, 2012

Labor Unions Pushing Change to "Progressive Income Tax" in Illinois to Extract Billions More From Taxpayers

A coalition of progressive groups is beginning to coalesce around a proposal to create a progressive income tax in Illinois.  Under their plan state income tax rates will increase as one reaches higher incomes, up to a top rate of 11 percent for incomes over $1 million.

This plan would leave Illinois with one of the highest income tax rates in the country, increase Illinoisians tax bills by more than $8 billion, and would most likely drive entrepreneurs and jobs from the state.

And if one digs beneath the surface of this plan, one finds government employee unions as a major source of money for supporters of the tax.

Among the earliest advocates of this tax has been the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and its executive director Ralph Martire.

Martire has been a regular on the policy lecture circuit, hawking the progressive tax as the best way to solve what he considers a funding shortfall in Illinois state government.

According to union financial reports filed with the Department of Labor, CTBA has been a major beneficiary of union largess, taking in $75,000 from AFSCME District Council 31, $30,000 from the SEIU Illinois State Council, and another $25,000 from SEIU Local 73 -- all of that in 2011 alone.

Citizen Action Illinois is another group that is pushing for a "soak the successful" tax plan, and it has also benefited from a $100,000 donation from AFSCME.

The government employee union interest is plain: Illinois budget is in a crisis, largely thanks to exploding government employee pension and health care costs.

The unions want to avoid any restructuring of the benefits, and are terrified of the prospect that the state might reduce its workforce, which would among other things, reduce the number of workers from whom they can collect dues.

Naturally the unions would prefer that Illinois deal with its budget problems by increasing revenues.

Whether or not Illinoisians will support a progressive income tax remains to be seen, but the unions are on board already.  Savvy voters will keep in mind who stands to pay, and who stands to gain.

NOTE:  Commentary and crosspost courtesy of Paul Kersey, Director of Labor Policy for Illinois Policy Institute.  If you would like to offer another view, contact us at


Anonymous said...

The only thing that will save the American way is making these public unions illegal. They are EVIL, Evil, Evil.

Anonymous said...

"Illinois budget is in a crisis, largely thanks to exploding government employee pension and health care costs."

It's not "exploding" costs that's the problem, it's that the politicians haven't been paying their share of the bills for YEARS. If they'd been putting the money into the fund that they were required to (and agreed to), the funds would be in much better shape today. The employees have been paying THEIR share all along -- and now everyone thinks they should pay the deadbeats' share, too.

Anonymous said...

What seems to be missing in discussion of public pensions, is their purpose, history, and way their structure has been minipulated over the years by various political factions. The fact remains the current system is unsustainable, and if not restructured will crash and burn. Promises were made by politicians to curry political favor without regard to cost or consequence, a practice we all now have to pay for. The answer is not higher taxes, but a greater accountability on the way tax dollars are spent particularly when it comes to pensions. Who out there deserves a 100,000 dollar a year pension, and why should the tax payer foot the bill?

Anonymous said...

It was republican governor Jim Thompson that gave the unions the right to organize, bargain and strike.

Before that, local governments could ignore unions and strikes were illegal

Remember what happened to East Aurora teachers when they tried to strike in the 1970's before Thompson gave everything to the unions. The district sent them individual contracts and told them to sign or else. They did.

Thank Jim Thompson for the strong union. Chicago democrats never wanted strong unions - democrats wanted subservient unions


Anonymous said...

The Illinois Constitution currently prohibits a progressive income tax in Illinois:
(a) A tax on or measured by income shall be at a
NON-GRADUATED RATE. At any one time there may be no more than
one such tax imposed by the State for State purposes on
individuals and one such tax so imposed on corporations. In
any such tax imposed upon corporations the rate shall not
exceed the rate imposed on individuals by more than a ratio
of 8 to 5.

A progressive income tax in Illinois would require a constitutional amendments approved by the voters

Anonymous said...

6:52 The great majority of state workers don't get a pension anywhere near $100,000. The average is closer to half that. Unfortunately, too many kool aid drinkers have bought the myths that certain people and groups have put out to push their own agenda, taking the small number of cases where people get huge pensions, and deliberately misrepresent that as if it's typical. The amount of the pension is based on their final salary, and the employees earned that pension by their service to the people of the state, and by THEIR payments into the system. In fact, they pay TWICE. They put in their direct contribution, deducted from their paychecks, for their entire career. They ALSO help pay the employer's portion because they are taxpayers, too. But the employer (i.e. the state) is not trustworthy and has stolen the taxpayers' money that was supposed to go in the pension funds to use for other things.

Anonymous said...

Certain individuals and groups pushing their own agenda is hardly a myth, and i beg to differ there is only a small number collecting obscene yearly payments on the public dime. Elected and appointed officials in particular seem to enjoy quite generous pensions having contributed only a very small percentage of their gross yearly salary, and to say it was earned by their service is questionable at best.

Anonymous said...


Every thing I read, its the same message Government workers are overpaid and are raping honest citizens and butt screwing their children.

Anonymous said...

Every thing I read, its the same message Government workers are overpaid and are raping honest citizens and butt screwing their children.

8/25/12 9:31 PM

Maybe in everything you read, but you don't read everything. I'm sure you're pretty selective to make sure you get the right flavor kool aid.

I did a google search and found a source that showed for 2010 the following Average Annual Pensions:
Illinois Judges' Retirement System $112,548
Illinois State Employees' Retirement System $31,981
Illinois Teachers' Retirement System $44,844
Illinois State University Retirement System (Defined Benefit Members Only) $33,960
Illinois General Assembly Retirement System $49,788

Of course this can't be a credible source, because you disagree with it. I found several sources that all had similar numbers. In fact, even the Taxpayers United, who is most definitely in the anti-public pensions/anti-employee category, and often does the same stuff you like about focusing on the small number of abuses and saying it's the norm, states "The average pension in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) is $46,000." (

But why bother trading links. You're going to believe what you believe no matter what the facts are. On the other hand, I've actually looked at the claims on both sides of the issue, and the data clearly backs what I said before. The great majority of state workers don't get a pension anywhere near $100,000. The average is closer to half that.

Finally, your inappropriate talk about "raping" and certain activities with children make me wonder some about YOUR proclivities. (I'm not going to use your specific words, because I don't think any decent person would).