J.B. Pritzker and Bruce Rauner still rich, tax returns show

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Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, right, and his Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker in a debate Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, in Chicago. | Rich Hein Sun-Times

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife Diana Rauner made $40 million in joint taxable income in 2017 — about $33 million less than they made last year, while billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker and his wife reported $34.4 million in taxable income last year.

The two candidates released copies of their federal and state tax returns on Tuesday, just a day after filing campaign finance reports detailing the millions each has pumped into his gubernatorial campaign.

The candidates’ wealth — and their relatability to voters — has played front and center in the bitter race. And Rauner has repeatedly made Pritzker’s inherited wealth, as the heir to the Hyatt family fortune, a talking point to insinuate that Pritzker hasn’t earned his wealth. During one debate, the Republican governor dubbed Pritzker a “trust fund baby.”

J.B. (Jay Robert) Pritzker and his wife, M.K. (Mary Kathryn) Pritzker, reported earning less than the Rauners did last year, even though the Democrats’ wealth is believed to be much greater than the governor’s.

In its list of the nation’s wealthiest Americans released earlier this month, Forbes estimated Pritzker’s fortune at $3.2 billion, tying him with cousin Jean “Gigi” Pritzker as the state’s seventh richest Illinoisan.

Rauner did not make the list, meaning his net worth is estimated at somewhere below $2.1 billion, the minimum to crack the Forbes “exclusive club” of the 400 richest Americans.

In the returns released Tuesday, the Pritzkers reported $34,439,798 in taxable income and paid $15.6 million in taxes last year — $14.8 million to the federal government and $811,816 to the state — at a rate of 36.2 percent.

Pritzker’s campaign noted his state taxes were lower because “JB paid more in income taxes in other states.”

While both Rauner and Pritzker released some of their tax information, neither disclosed his full return, which would also include schedules filed to claim exemptions and donations other than those to their own charitable organizations. Releasing tax returns isn’t required for candidates or elected officials.

Pritzker’s campaign last November released a tax return that showed $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.


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Rauners’ taxable income dropped $103 million last year—to $73 million

Rauner made about $103 million less in 2016 than in 2015 — but still reported a joint taxable income of $73.3 million, according to returns the governor released in 2017. It was a sharp drop from the $176 million in taxable income they reported for 2015, when they paid about $50 million in taxes. But business largely has been booming for the couple this decade.

Rauner hit windfalls as a private equity manager and venture capitalist before launching his political career. He reported a total income of about $27.1 million in 2010, $28.1 million in 2011, $53.4 million in 2012 and $60.8 million in 2013.

In 2014, when he made his successful run for governor, the Rauners made $58 million in total income.

Both Rauner and Pritzer have funneled huge chunks of their wealth into their political campaigns.

Reports filed Monday show the two have taken in more than $234 million — from themselves and others — since early 2016.

Pritzker has churned a record $146.5 million into his campaign, topping the $144 million that Republican Meg Whitman put into her failed 2010 California gubernatorial race, the previous national self-financing record.

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