Billionaire tries to buy a 'No' vote

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Re: "Griffin drops extra $26.7M against tax rate proposal," Chicago Tribune, Oct. 5, p. 2:

A billionaire has spent $46.7 million fighting the Fair Tax Rate Amendment. Why would he do this? How can he afford it? The amendment would not raise taxes on 97 percent of Illinoisans. But it would allow the state legislature to require rich people to pay tax at a higher rate. Ken Griffin is the richest man in Illinois. He is worth $15.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index [1]. If his investments generate 10 percent annually, which is the average for the U.S. stock market [2], he has $1.56 billion in annual income potentially subject to the Illinois state income tax. If the amendment passed, and the tax for billionaires increased by only 1 percent, this would increase Griffin's tax burden by $15.6 million. If billionaires paid 3 percent more, his tax would increase by $46.8 million. So by spending just one year's worth of future tax, he hopes to kill the Fair Tax Amendment and force the rest of Illinoisans to pay the same rate as he does.

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/profiles/kenneth-c-griffin/

[2] https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/average-stock-market-return/

Tom DeCoursey

Oak Park

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Paul Clark  

Posted: October 13th, 2020 8:04 AM

Ken Griffin owns several properties, scattered across several states and countries, with a total value of about $1 billion. "Only" two properties in Chicago. https://therealdeal.com/2020/08/27/ken-griffin-is-approaching-1b-in-worldwide-luxury-real-estate/

Robert Zeh  

Posted: October 12th, 2020 6:15 PM

Setting aside the dubious assumption that Griffin's accounts are being incompetently managed with respect to taxes (stock returns are mostly delivered via capital gains, and only an idiot would realize those gains every year) the question we should really be asking is why Griffin would pay $46.8 million to live in Illinois when he could live and work from a state without income tax. Would other high earners follow suit, and come for the weather, but stay for the tax grab?

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 10th, 2020 9:19 AM

The bigger question is why would Pritzker spend his money to increase the tax, when the Pritzker family are the billionaires in the state. The answer is that once the tax is passed, it can then be changed and applied on regular people, like two income families. That works for Pritzker, to consolidate his control by not touching his voter base. This one is an easy NO vote.

Brian Sharpe  

Posted: October 9th, 2020 1:36 PM

No state pension reforms, no "Unfair Tax". This will be an easy majority vote.

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