Rep. Ugaste, GOP colleagues 'arming constituents with the true facts' about graduated tax proposal
As Illinois Democrats push for Gov. J.B. Pritzker's so-called "fair tax" that one online news outlet calls dishonest, a freshman state House representative from Geneva recently said he is joining fellow lawmakers in encouraging constituents to better understand the proposal.
"I am hosting a few informational town hall events alongside my colleagues to make sure our constituents understand every aspect of the progressive tax proposal," state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) told Kane County Reporter. "Since this issue seeks to change the constitution, it is dependent on the voters. Arming our constituents with the true facts about this tax is the best step forward for our Republican caucus."
A graduated income tax town hall was held Saturday in Lake in the Hills and another one is scheduled for 7 to 8 p.m. Monday at 12015 Mill St., Huntley, according to information on Ugaste's state representative website. Ugaste said he agrees with an article published last week in Wirepoints that called the case Democrats are making for the graduated income tax "dishonest."
"The progressive tax will do little to solve Illinois' fiscal condition if we don't address the state's underlying issues," Ugaste said. "If we do not instill real reforms, we cannot truly fix our problems. We cannot tax our way out of this situation – the massive amount of debt Illinois carries – which this proposal seemingly is trying to do. Like the article stated, the progressive tax will have Illinois taxpayers throwing money into a black hole and could potentially lead to a tax revenue decrease, if it causes a large enough exodus of people and business."
The proposed tax also opens the door to more of the same dysfunctional policy-making in Springfield, Ugaste said.
"Finally, if this tax is approved, moving forward it will be much easier for lawmakers to increase rates and continue on a path of reckless spending," he said.
Ugaste began representing the Illinois state House 65th District in January following his win in November over the Democratic challenger, Elgin Teachers Union President Richard Johnson, to take over the seat of the now retired incumbent Steven Andersson (R-Geneva). The Illinois state House 65th district is located within Kane and McHenry Counties and includes all or parts of Batavia, Elgin, Geneva, Hampshire, South Elgin, and St. Charles.
Gov. Pritzker has claimed his 'fair tax' plan, which was a major part of his election campaign last year, would create taxation in Illinois that works for all residents, not just the rich. While commercials in favor of the graduated tax began running in March, the real push for the plan was launched earlier this month over the objections of conservatives in the state legislature.
Think Big Illinois has claimed that the plan can "fix our state's $3.2 billion crisis" but the April 16 Wirepoints article said that passage of the bill would dupe Illinoisans "into throwing more money at a doomed effort." Think Big Illinois' claims underestimate just how large the state financial crisis is, Wirepoints founder Mark Glennon wrote in the article.
"If only the hole indeed were just $3.2 billion," Glennon wrote. "Most Illinoisans of any political stripe would probably be happy to pay up and call it a day to fix our fiscal crisis, no matter how the burden was distributed. But it’s preposterous – off by several multiples, depending on exactly what you choose to count."
The annual funding shortfall for five of the state’s pensions comes in at $4.7 billion a year, based on actuarially determined contributions and "on assumptions widely regarded as far too optimistic," the article said.
"But the new tax would raise only $3.4 billion per year (That’s the administration’s claim, though the estimate has been heavily criticized as too optimistic)," Glennon continued. "In other words, the new tax wouldn’t come close to solving the state’s pension crisis, never mind the hundreds of local pension funds across the state."