Greising: If Pritzker Wants Real Pension Reform, He May Need to Amend His ‘Fantasy’ Swipe

Pritzker’s plan would replace Illinois’ flat tax with a graduated income tax projected to increase revenue by $3.6 billion a year, chiefly by hiking tax rates on the top 3% of all earners.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s speech Wednesday was billed as his annual budget address. But it was much more than that.

The budget part of the speech held few surprises and was far less ambitious than last year’s agenda. After a first year in which Pritzker passed gambling and cannabis legislation and a $45 billion infrastructure plan, the governor is taking a breather this year, relatively speaking.

The key part of Pritzker’s address was the governor’s pitch for a constitutional amendment that would enable him to change the state’s tax structure and make wealthy people pay more.

“This budget is a bridge to the future,” Pritzker said. And from there, he went on to lay out the benefits, as he sees them, from the graduated income tax.

When Illinois voters go to the polls in November, the progressive tax amendment may be the most important question on their ballots. The issue will be up for grabs, more so than whether blue-state Illinois will want to back President Donald Trump for a second term.

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