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Group of Illinois’ top employers announce opposition to Pritzker’s graduated income tax amendment

Pritzker himself is an honorary member of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, which argued the proposed measure will result in job losses.

Ken Griffin (left) and Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Ken Griffin (left) and Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Sun-Times file

A group of executives from the state’s leading employers on Tuesday came out against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax referendum, saying approval of the measure on the November ballot “all but promises that Illinois will not address its long-term financial challenges.”

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago said in a statement that its opposition to the proposal is “based on the state’s decades-long history of fiscal mismanagement.”

“The result will be further loss of jobs and people, long-term cuts in critical social services, a shrinking tax base burdened with growing debt and a guarantee that Illinois will continue to have the worst credit rating of any state in the country,” the group said.

Pritzker himself is an honorary member of the Civic Committee, which reached its position by consensus, according to a spokesman.

The group comprises a who’s-who of the Chicago business world with members including Ken Griffin, the hedge fund billionaire who pumped $20 million earlier this month into the “Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike Amendment.”

The billionaire Democratic governor, meanwhile, has dumped $56.5 million of his fortune into the “Vote Yes for Fairness” committee.

Quentin Fulks, who heads the committee supporting Pritzker’s coveted amendment, said “it’s no surprise that an organization of the wealthiest people in our state who have benefited from avoiding paying their fair share for 50 years is voicing their opposition to the Fair Tax.”

The Civic Committee said it “could support a graduated income tax as part of a comprehensive plan,” but absent that, the state “will remain stuck in a financial rut.”

Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz and Michael Sacks, chairman of the private equity firm GCM Grosvenor, are also members of the Civic Committee. Both are investors in Sun-Times Media.

Illinois currently applies a tax rate of 4.95% to all incomes. If the amendment passes, rates higher than 4.95% would apply to incomes greater than $250,000 a year, while those making less than $100,000 a year would pay a slightly lower rate.