Editorials

Specific about Illinois taxes, vague about who can deliver as governor

Meet governor hopeful Bob Daiber

Bob Daiber is seeking the Democratic nomination to face Bruce Rauner in the 2018 election for governor.
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Bob Daiber is seeking the Democratic nomination to face Bruce Rauner in the 2018 election for governor.

The reason political candidates keep it vague is so that they do not have to defend or explain too much. You don’t want to ruin your ambiguous campaign promise with messy details for which you can be held accountable.

So Bob Daiber gets credit for his political bravery, or desperation, or naivete. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate from Madison County came out with his progressive state income tax plan, including specifics on five tax brackets ranging from 1 percent for those making less than $25,000 to 6 percent for millionaires.

Daiber then catches it for being precise. He says his plan adds $1 billion a year to Illinois coffers, but a bipartisan think tank says he takes away $7 billion.

Of note is that the frontrunners, the Democrats’ own version of a billionaire with no real political experience, J.B. Pritzker, and that nephew of Camelot, Chris Kennedy, keep it vague. How non-brave (or smart).

Democrat Daniel Biss is right to say the budget needs to be balanced before talking about the revenue needed from an income tax, but then he’s talking about $10 billion to $12 billion in new taxes on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade. What happened to determining need before taking more in taxes?

It is hard to get behind any new taxes when you don’t trust the folks in Springfield. They dug the fiscal hole, then they sold us a temporary tax hike to 5 percent, which generated $25 billion extra. Instead of using that money to fill the hole, they dug the hole even deeper and then overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto so the rate became permanent at 4.95 percent.

On the Republican side, Rauner wants to cut the tax rate to 3 percent and wants property tax caps. Hard to believe that effort will be any more effective than any of his other efforts to work with lawmakers.

Republican candidate Jeanne Ives also wants property tax caps and to put “handcuffs on government spending.”

You gotta love the imagery of handcuffing the tax robbers, but so far there’s been little to inspire faith that any of the six Democrats would do any arresting or that the two Republicans would get anyone to take them seriously as sheriff.

Maybe we need to stop seeking a governor who will do the most good, and assess who will do the least additional harm.

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