Pritzker meets with credit rating agencies - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Pritzker meets with credit rating agencies

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CHICAGO, Ill. -- Gov. J.B. Pritzker touts his progressive income tax proposal as a way to keep bond rating agencies from downgrading the state's credit.

The governor spoke in Chicago Tuesday to support the plan he initially proposed last week and introduce the Fair Tax Calculator tool.

Pritzker said the tool helps people learn more about his proposed progressive income tax. It can be found at www.illinois.gov/fairtaxcalculator.

He also said he met with representatives from the major credit rating agencies Monday regarding Illinois' financial picture. He defended his progressive tax proposal by saying it'll bring in an extra $3.4 billion annually and cover some of Illinois' financial woes the ratings agencies are concerned about.

There are a number of challenges facing the state of Illinois.

Debt from pension liabilities stands at $134 billion. There's also a $3.2 billion budget deficit for next year, and Pritzker said there's a $2 billion structural budget deficit.

Pritzker said his progressive tax plan is the fairest way to deal with those issues.

Conservative Republican groups have attacked Pritzker's proposal, saying it won't bring in as much revenue as the governor claims and claiming that lawmakers will eventually raise taxes on the middle class.

Illinois Republican Party chairman Tim Schneider criticized Pritzker for having offshore investments and holding companies.

"If Pritzker truly believes that rich people such as himself have an obligation to pay more in taxes to the state of Illinois, Pritzker should take the first step and domesticate his overseas holdings in Illinois so they would be subject to the higher tax rates he has proposed for the people of Illinois," Schneider said.

Pritzker said those groups don't have proposals to deal with Illinois' financial mess-- and the progressive tax is the fairest way to handle it. 

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