As expected, state comptroller and Democratic gubernatorial challenger Dan Hynes went up on the air yesterday with the first campaign ad of the season. In the spot, which you can view here, he repeats his oversimplified description of Gov. Pat Quinn's tax plan from last year (...
As expected, state comptroller and Democratic gubernatorial challenger Dan Hynes went up on the air yesterday with the first campaign ad of the season. In the spot, which you can view here, he repeats his oversimplified description of Gov. Pat Quinn's tax plan from last year (calling it a "50 percent tax increase on every Illinois family") and asserts that his alternative plan is a "better" option:
As we've said before, Hynes' budget proposal -- which hinges on amending the constitution next November to allow for a graduated tax rate -- is worthy of discussion. But his ongoing characterization of Quinn's plan as a tax increase on "every Illinois family" is downright dishonest and ignores that he coupled his plan to raise the income tax rate from 3 percent to 4.5 percent with a provision that would have tripled the personal exemption (which currently stands at $2,000). The Quinn campaign explains in their response to the ad:
Governor Quinn proposed a tax reform plan in his March 18 budget speech that would have provided immediate tax relief for Illinois households at the lower tax brackets while raising rates for taxpayers with higher incomes. Under Governor Quinn’s plan, 5 million Illinois taxpayers would have seen their income tax bills stay flat or decrease. “It is unfortunate that, in these difficult economic times, the Comptroller is trying to deceive Illinois voters by giving a false impression of my record,” Governor Quinn said.
Unfortunately, the Tribune article on Hynes' ad includes the Quinn quote but doesn't tell readers what is actually deceitful about the ad:
In a response issued tonight, Quinn maintained he has long advocated tax fairness.
“It is unfortunate that, in these difficult economic times, the Comptroller is trying to deceive Illinois voters by giving a false impression of my record,” Quinn said in a statement released by his campaign.
Quinn has supported various income-tax increase proposals in the legislature, but House Democrats fearful of a tax revolt at the ballot box rejected attempts to hike taxes in the spring session.
It'd be nice if the Tribune pointed out that each of those "various income-tax increase proposals" included provisions intended to shield lower-income taxpayers from the effects of the hike. The Sun-Times, by contrast, gets a response to Quinn's response:
[T]he tax plan Quinn proposed this year started out as one that would lower taxes on middle-class families by raising the deductions while raising the rates. But Hynes points out that at one point during negotiations, he abandoned the idea of lowering deductions before the General Assembly abandoned Quinn's tax plan.
Quinn "abandoned the idea of lowering deductions"? We paid very close attention to the budget negotations in Springfield this year and don't remember Quinn ever abandoning that element of his proposal. He said in early May that he was open to negotiating on the matter. And he proposed a tweaked plan in late May that would have only increased the exemption to $3,000 (rather than $6,000, as originally proposed), while doubling the Earned Income Tax Credit. But in neither case did he "abandon" it fully.
We've asked the Hynes campaign for documentation backing up the assertion in the Sun-Times piece. We'll let you know what we hear back. Perhaps they'll point out that Quinn at one point voiced support for State Sen. James Meeks' alternative tax plan in a hearing before the House Education Committtee. But that proposal also included a higher personal exemption and Earned Income Tax Credit.