I have a lot of respect for Matt and believe he cares deeply about our city and our community. But in a recent blog post on his website he tried to brush off his support for a city income tax and complain about our efforts to educate voters about this bad idea.
Matt has stumped for a new city income tax on his website, at forums, and in interviews. For months he called for creating this new city income tax on top of a statewide progressive income tax. He included his support for this new tax in his answers to multiple candidate questionnaires. And he’s proposed it to pay for a range of different things – including for the far-fetched purpose of phasing out billions in property taxes paid by Chicago residents and businesses – without specifying the rates he’d like to impose or who he’d like to have pay the new tax.
A new city income tax is a bad idea. Its not a question of intent – I believe he has the best of intentions. But regardless of the form it takes when first established, a new city income tax would only broaden and increase over time. And it is irresponsible to repeatedly call for this new tax, which would require Springfield authorization, while Governor JB Pritzker is taking on the difficult fight of establishing a statewide progressive income tax. In fact, Matt’s early calls for a city income tax have recently been followed by a proposal to establish a 3.5% city tax on taxpayers that earn more than $100,000 on top of any progressive statewide income tax – this would have a big impact in the 47th ward and distracts from the Governor’s focus on a statewide fair tax.