Illinois state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) on the House floor | repugaste.com
Illinois state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) worries that lawmakers in Springfield are approaching the issue of taxation from the wrong direction.
“Taxing a group of people even more is not going to get them to stay in Illinois,” Ugaste told the Kane County Reporter in reference to the progressive income tax plan favored by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Democratic leaders. “People need to think long and hard about what we’re doing.”
New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that such a system of taxation simply does not compute in terms of restoring Illinois to fiscal stability. With taxes already listed as the top reason why most former Illinoisans say they left the state and why most current residents say they would consider leaving, Pritzker’s progressive tax would add $3.4 billion to the burden of those earning $250,000 or more each year.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker
Deeper analysis of the numbers shows that the demographic targeted by the new tax is already leaving the state at nearly twice the rate of average and below-average earners. Overall, the state has lost at least $32 billion in income over the last decade from people leaving Illinois in search of a more affordable cost of living.
“The facts support what I’ve been saying all along about this approach being doomed to set us even further behind,” Ugaste said. “We need to be thinking of easing the tax burden and running the state more efficiently by passing laws that limit regulations and increase opportunity. If people see that, they will come as long as we’re not overtaxing.”
Ugaste concedes that defeating the progressive tax plan at the ballot box in November will be difficult because it is being inaccurately presented as a solution to Illinois' fiscal crisis. Aside from advocating for voter awareness, Ugaste and his Republican colleagues can only hope logic will prevail in the end.
“We have to look at our state and all we are facing and realize that we can’t afford to keep pushing people away,” Ugaste said. “That’s just not the way to do things and have a healthy economy.”