Rival says Pritzker, Kennedy income info ‘tells us absolutely nothing’

SHARE Rival says Pritzker, Kennedy income info ‘tells us absolutely nothing’

(From left) Illinois gubernatorial candidates J.B. Pritzker, Chris Kennedy, State Sen. Daniel Biss and Tio Hardiman during the Progressive Gubernatorial Forum on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. File Photo. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Two of the top Democratic gubernatorial candidates released tax return information on Monday, with billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist J.B. Pritzker and his wife reporting $14.95 million in income last year, and businessman Chris Kennedy and his wife jointly reporting $1.2 million.

Although releasing tax returns isn’t required for candidates or elected officials, state Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, had urged his two gubernatorial rivals to release their tax returns as a form of transparency to voters. But Biss had pushed for five years of tax returns.

In October, Pritzker was dubbed the fifth-richest person in Illinois by Forbes with an estimated fortune of $3.4 billion. Gov. Bruce Rauner did not make the list, which had a cutoff this year of $2 billion.

But Pritzker’s deeper pockets did not translate into bigger earnings. The Democrat reported income last year that was just a fraction of what Rauner reported.

Pritzker’s latest tax return shows $14.95 million in adjusted gross income for 2016 — having paid a federal tax rate of 27.7 percent. He reported $9.9 million in income jointly in 2015 and $3.13 million jointly in 2014.

His campaign disclosed that Pritzker paid an additional $24.95 million in Illinois taxes and $128.97 million in federal taxes between 2014 and 2016; and made $15.3 million in personal charitable donations. His foundation, the campaign said, made donations of $53.8 million between 2014 and 2016.

Pritzker and Kennedy did not release the schedules or other attachments that would show financial investments, earnings and other details about their income. The withheld documents would also provide a glimpse into tax breaks.

Rauner followed the same model when he released his 1040 last month, also withholding the schedules.

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Kennedy on Monday afternoon released his state and federal return for 2016. And within minutes, the Pritzker campaign released his tax summaries since 2014.

Kennedy in 2016 reported $1.242 million jointly as his adjusted gross income with his wife Sheila.

Biss’ campaign said both candidates “failed to live up to their promise.” Biss listed $32, 568 as his adjusted gross income on his tax 2016 return. And on Monday evening, Biss on Twitter urged candidates to release five years of complete returns with all trust fund disclosures.

“And the information you guys have released so far tells us absolutely nothing,” Biss tweeted.

“So I get it, @JBPritzker and @KennedyforIL. You’re embarrassed about where your money comes from. Fine. But Don’t take the Democratic Party down with you. Do the right thing,” Biss tweeted.

Rauner reported more than $90 million in adjusted gross income in 2016, according to information provided by the governor’s office in October. That was a steep drop from the $187.6 million he reported in 2015. The Rauners paid $19.5 million in federal taxes and $3.2 million in state income taxes for a tax rate of 25 percent.

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