CHICAGO (CBS) — Governor JB Pritzker marked his 100th day in office Tuesday and says his biggest accomplishment so far is the passage of a minimum wage hike.
“It meant that a million people in Illinois will come out of poverty,” Pritzker said. “That’s a big deal.”
He says his next big challenge is passage of a graduated income tax.
“Only those people who make $250,000 will pay more in the state,” he said. “Everyone else will get some kind of tax relief or pay the same, and it’s important to us to overcome the fiscal challenges while also protecting the middle class. That’s what it’s about.”
But to be enacted, the proposal must first pass both the House and Senate by a three-fifths vote. Then voters have to approve it by the same margin.
Some downstate House Democrats are balking, and Republicans are solidly opposed. But Pritzker argues there are no good alternatives.
“You can do massive cuts to the programs and education that people care about,” he said. “You can raise taxes on everybody. Or you can follow the fair tax program; which will not only provide tax relief for most people in Illinois, but only ask the top 3% to pay more.”
Pritzker said the state needs to rebuild roads and bridges, but he won’t endorse a gas tax to pay for it, at least not yet.
The governor hopes to have the tax change, recreational marijuana, and legalized sports gambling all approved before state lawmakers adjourn at the end of May to help close a $1 billion budget gap.