Why not tax Illinois retirement income?


( Chris Walker, Chicago Tribune / March 7, 2011 ) Tom Donovan, left, former CBOT CEO, greets Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton before Cullerton spoke at a City Club of Chicago luncheon at a Chicago restaurant.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton denies that he ever called for a tax on retirement income. Even though the evidence (compiled by the Illinois Republican Party) could make one think otherwise. (Here, here, here, here and here.) (See the Cullerton speech at the City Club here.)

But, speaking as someone who lives partially off retirement income, might I ask: Why is this a bad thing? Why shouldn’t income from any source be taxed, at progressive rates (i.e. low-income folks pay a smaller percentage)? 

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: income, politics, tax


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  • That might be a fair question, but the issue is that, at least a couple of weeks ago, Cullerton was basically saying tax everything (i.e. Wirtz had standing to sue, so substitute a cigarette tax for the liquor one), retirement income, etc., without saying anything about getting spending under control. While Cullerton was fairly upfront about that (he said that year that the Senate had passed the income tax hike to 5% that was sitting in the house), you demonstrate here that he generally is a liar (the retirement income tax didn't come out of thin air).

    Even when Cullerton was talking about it, he was talking out of both sides of his mouth, saying how much it would bring in if retirement pay were taxed at the full 5%, then saying that would allow the 5% rate to go down, and then, when questioned, proposing all sorts of exemptions.

    Of course, Quinn has consistently proved that his word is no good.

    So, maybe before "floating" this idea, maybe Cullerton should do something to rehabilitate his credibility with those other than the members of the public employee unions, and do something about spending, too. The Tribune reported yesterday that Madigan and Cross were at least talking; maybe Cullerton should talk to the Republicans, too, instead of saying that they have to get onto his bills.

    As far as progressive rates, Cullerton is at least consistent on his view that the constitution does not allow that or any cut in the pension laws for existing employees. That at least varies from his acolytes advocating for the first but saying that the second was impossible. If Cullerton is really serious, he should push to put constitutional amendments for both on the ballot. Of course, this legislative slime got Con-Con voted down two years ago by engaging in deceptive, and a judge found, illegal tactics.

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