Governor candidate: Progressive tax structure possible fix to Illinois debt

CHARLESTON — Ameya Pawar told area Democrats at Eastern Illinois University over the weekend that he is applying his view of wealth in politics and in Illinois government to campaign for the Democratic ticket for governor.

“Where we are today is we think that wealth is the only pre-qualifier to run for public office,” said Pawar, Chicago 47th Ward alderman. “What ends up happening when you do that is that people sometimes bring a myopic view to government.”

Pawar said he hopes he can prove that money does not nab the election for governor in 2018 as he did in his campaign for alderman. In 2011, Pawar edged out the competition in the election to become alderman of Chicago’s 47th Ward. By 2015, he was re-elected with 82 percent of the vote, the largest margin in the city.

Pawar has less than $60,000 in his campaign fund.

Pawar said he would apply this understanding of wealth to Illinois policy as well. The Chicago candidate advocates for a millionaire surcharge and a progressive tax structure as opposed to the flat tax in the state now.

“We need to have a progressive income tax,” he said. “That means that, like at the federal level, the more you make, the more you pay.”

Illinois needs to catch up to other states in the country and switch to a progressive income tax, he said. Pawar acknowledged that progressive tax structures have been talked about in less gridlocked times in state government, however, he sees it as a possibility.

Pawar said this would move Illinois forward to pave a way to dwindle the state debt accumulated over years and pave a way for four platforms he is running on: bettering the state’s education funding formula, opening up child care for all families, building jobs through infrastructure spending, and criminal justice reform.

“If you invest money through creating jobs through infrastructure, you are also putting money into the pockets of workers,” Pawar said of infrastructure spending. “They pay income taxes. They pay sales taxes. They are going to spend money locally.”

Pawar applied this logic to more spending in areas like education and child care.

“If you put more money in the pockets of people when they refinance their student loans, if you put more money in the pockets of people with a child care subsidy, that is money that they are going to go out and spend on a home,” Pawar said.

On crime reform, Pawar said criminal justice funding should be used to keep people in their community. He advocates redistribution of resources from prisons to diversion, job placement programs and mental health services.

Speaking on current Gov. Bruce Rauner’s turnaround agenda points, Pawar said he only sees term limits as something he could get behind but only in the executive position; however, he does not think they are a fix for Illinois issues.

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February 26, 2017 at 10:22AM

Governor candidate: Progressive tax structure possible fix to Illinois debt

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