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Illinois Pols React To "Millionaire Tax"

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    Here’s how Illinois politicians are reacting to President Obama’s “Buffett Tax” -- his proposal to institute a minimum tax on millionaires to ensure they pay the same proportion of their income as middle-class earner:

    Sen. Dick Durbin defended President Obama’s tax proposal: “I wonder if John Boehner knows what it sounds like when he continues to say the position of the Republican Party in America is that you can’t impose one more penny in taxes on the wealthiest people," Durbin said on CNN’s State of the Union, responding to the Republican House Speaker’s opposition. “I wonder if he understands how that sounds in Ohio, to working families who are struggling paycheck to paycheck.”

    Sen. Mark Kirk issued this statement: "We need the President to endorse bipartisan ways to reduce federal borrowing, runaway spending, entitlement growth and closing loopholes through tax reform. ... I am concerned that the President is pushing a formula of partisan tax hikes and budget gimmicks. Tax hikes made the Great Depression vastly worse. The Deficit Commission and Gang of Six have the best plan to show Americans, and our creditors, that Congress is serious."

    Rep. Joe Walsh issue this statement: 
    "It doesn't make any sense to raise taxes on America's job creators to pay for another stimulus program that won't create any jobs.  The President is in over his head and just isn't serious about helping American businesses create jobs."

    "I have held over seventy town halls since I came to Congress and at every one I keep hearing the same thing:  lower taxes and get government out of the way so that American businesses can create the jobs we need.  That is why I have introduced a bill that will index the capital gains tax to inflation and free up capital for businesses to grow the economy and create jobs.”

    “I would encourage the Warren Buffett types, who want to pay more in taxes, to write as large a check as they want to the federal treasury.  Nothing is stopping them.  But there is no reason to crush American small businesses and hard-working job creators under even more taxes, just because Warren Buffett feels guilty about his mansion.”

    Rep. Jan Schakowsky, the most outspoken liberal in the Illinois delegation, proposed raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires back in March: “In the United States today, the richest 1% owns 34 % of our nation’s wealth – that’s more than the entire bottom 90%, who own just 29% of the country’s wealth,” Schakowsky said. “And the top one-hundredth of 1% now makes an average of $27 million per household per year. The average income for the bottom 90% of Americans? $31,244. It’s time for millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share, which is why I introduced the Fairness in Taxation Act..

    "The Fairness in Taxation Act asks enacts new tax brackets for income starting at $1 million and ends with a $1 billion bracket. The new brackets would be:
    $1-10 million: 45%
    $10-20 million: 46%
    $20-100 million: 47%
    $100 million to $1 billion: 48%
    $1 billion and over: 49% "

    Rep. Randy Hultgren: During a Town Hall meeting in Geneva last month, Hultgren was greeted with a sign reading, “Tax Wall Street Millionaires.” He didn’t like the idea, according to the Daily Herald:

     “Our tax structure is broken,” Hultgren said. “We've got a tax system that punishes productivity. It needs to be flatter. It needs to be fairer.”  
     However, Hultgren drew the line for reform at any tax increases, particularly tax increases for individuals.
    Hultgren said tax reform must also tread lightly so as not to kill small businesses and manufacturing. There are a number of land mines to reform. For instance, Hultgren discussed the existence of “S Corporations.” Such businesses use shareholders to report the corporate income and losses on their personal tax returns.
    That allows the income and losses to be taxed at individual income tax rates instead of corporate rates.
     “If you raise taxes on people who earn $250,000 a year, you are also raising taxes on small businesses,” Hultgren said. There's a similar problem with oil company subsidies, Hultgren said.

    Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!