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STATEHOUSE INSIDER: Pritzker: No idea if fed tax cut helped me

Governor takes opportunity to pitch graduated tax proposal

Doug Finke
Doug Finke

There have been plenty of stories around lately of people with more modest incomes expressing disappointment that they’re not getting as large of a federal tax refund as they did before the federal tax cut.

It’s pretty much impossible to say why this is happening to those people, although it could well be they didn’t adjust their withholding after the cut went into effect, something financial experts said would be a prudent thing for people to do.

Anyway, Pritzker last week was asked if the tax cuts saved the billionaire governor any money. After all, one criticism of the cuts was that they were skewed toward the rich, which would make someone like Pritzker a prime beneficiary.

Alas, the governor said he has no idea how the cut affected him.

“I don’t know,” he said. “As you know, I don’t file my taxes until the October deadline because I have, as you know, a complex tax return and so I couldn’t tell you the answer to that. I will say the wealthiest people in the country got an enormous tax break and virtually everybody else didn’t.”

And like any good governor would, Pritzker used the question to plug his graduated income tax proposal.

“Why should the benefits of a tax break go to the wealthiest people who need it less and not to the people who need it more who are working families?” Pritzker said. “That’s why our fair tax was put forward. I have said all along when I ran for governor, and now that I’ve become governor in the last 90 days, and for the last 2 years, this is all about putting Springfield back on the side of working families. The fair tax allows us to do that.”

Presumably, any windfall Pritzker got from the federal tax cut will be consumed by the increased taxes he’ll pay under his graduated tax plan.

Low grades for

The American Conservative Union Foundation, based in Alexandria, Virginia, has weighed in on the conservative credentials of the Illinois General Assembly and appeared to find them somewhat lacking.

The group said it examined how Illinois lawmakers voted on legislation before the chambers. ACUF said those votes included “to violate important Second Amendment rights, impose mandates that drive up the cost of health insurance and advance a resolution to establish a ‘right to an abortion.’”

According to the ACUF survey, the General Assembly’s conservative score fell from 42.42% in 2017 to 35.62 in 2018.

Is anyone else surprised Illinois got as high as a 42% rating?

Individual lawmakers had to score 80% or more to get an award from the ACUF. Six Republican representatives scored 90% or better, according to the group. Another 22 House Republicans scored 80% or better, including Reps. Avery Bourne of Raymond and C.D. Davidsmeyer of Jacksonville.

Just two Republican senators cracked the magic 80% number. They did not include former Sen. Sam McCann of Plainview, who ran for governor as the Conservative Party candidate. The ACUF said he only scored a 45% in 2018.

The group gave two local lawmakers – Rep. Tom Demmer and retired Sen. Tim Bivins, both of Dixon – a thumbs up Award for Conservative Achievement, in the 80 to 89% range.

At the other end of the scale, 26 senators and 41 representatives scored less than 10% in the ACUF survey. You know which party they belong to.

Go to to read the survey.

Audit cites DCEO deficiencies

A recent audit of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity dinged the agency for basically failing to have adequate oversight in place for the more than $1 billion in grants and awards it made during the 2 years before June 30, 2018.

The department said it accepted the recommendation and it would continue to assess and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its current controls over the grant administration and monitoring processes.

Auditors noted the problem has been ongoing since 2008.

Contact Doug Finke:, 788-1527,

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