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Illinois Tax Day Rally Takes Aim at Corporate Tax Loopholes

Some groups say corporate tax loopholes are costing Illinois more than $1 billion in lost revenue each year.  (Ken Teegardin/Flickr)
Some groups say corporate tax loopholes are costing Illinois more than $1 billion in lost revenue each year. (Ken Teegardin/Flickr)
April 16, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An alliance of Illinoisans from all walks of life gathered on Tax Day, to call on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to close loopholes that enable corporations to dodge state taxes.

At a Chicago rally, people with the group Fair Economy Illinois demanded action in the state budget to stop corporations from hiding their profits in offshore tax havens. Anna Gaebler, a community organizer with the group, said at a time when Illinois has an $8 billion backlog of financial obligations, corporate tax loopholes are costing the state more than $1 billion in lost revenue each year.

"In our state, two-thirds of corporations pay no corporate income tax,” Gaebler said. “And meanwhile, we have a budgetary crisis. We've seen cuts to funding for public education, social services, mental health clinics - across the board."

Gaebler added the proposed progressive income tax would help address inequities in the state budget. But, she noted, that revenue wouldn't be available until after 2021, if the measure was approved by voters.

Opponents to changing the state income tax argue it could hurt middle-income families, and it wouldn't protect against any future tax increases.

Gaebler contended closing corporate tax loopholes in this year's budget would help shift the tax burden off low- to middle-income earners. But, she said, the governor's proposal includes raising revenue in other ways:

“Including taxing marijuana,” she said. “But it also includes some measures that really target consumers, especially middle-class and lower-income folks - for example, a raise on the cigarette tax and a plastic bag tax across our state."

The pressure is on state lawmakers, as the budget needs to be approved in the next six weeks. Companion bills filed this session, HB 2085/SB 115, would help address loopholes in offshore tax havens. Supporters estimate that could bring $318 million into the state.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL