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Pritzker’s plan would replace Illinois’ flat tax with a graduated income tax projected to increase revenue by $3.6 billion a year, chiefly by hiking tax rates on the top 3% of all earners.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s speech Wednesday was billed as his annual budget address. But it was much more than that.

The budget part of the speech held few surprises and was far less ambitious than last year’s agenda. After a first year in which Pritzker passed gambling and cannabis legislation and a $45 billion infrastructure plan, the governor is taking a breather this year, relatively speaking.

The key part of Pritzker’s address was the governor’s pitch for a constitutional amendment that would enable him to change the state’s tax structure and make wealthy people pay more.

“This budget is a bridge to the future,” Pritzker said. And from there, he went on to lay out the benefits, as he sees them, from the graduated income tax.

Read more of Friday’s Tribune op-ed here if you missed it.

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Tucked on the outer edges of southern Cook County, suburban Park Forest was built to help answer a housing shortage in the 1940s as GIs flooded home from World War II. Before long, it became a model of suburban living, featuring enviable public schools and an attractive downtown shopping center anchored by a Marshall Field’s.

Today, the legacy department store is long gone. The high school, Rich East, is facing such low enrollment that it is being considered for closure. And, as of 2017, financially strapped homeowners were stuck with the second-highest property-tax rate in Cook County.

Among them is Ryan Dupée, who is being billed more than $3,800 in property taxes for a modest, ranch-style home he and his wife bought under foreclosure four years ago for just $25,000.

“It’s a shocker and it’s disappointing because your money could go to other things,” Dupée said, adding that while they aren’t paying a mortgage the property taxes are difficult for them to handle, especially since he’s between full-time jobs as a quality assurance auditor.

Read the full Better Government Association investigation here and realize what we already knew – it’s not just Barrington Hills. 

This story was co-published with Crain’s Chicago Business, as part of a Crain’s Forum project on affordable housing.

 

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