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Billionaire tries to buy a 'No' vote

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

October 7th, 2020 10:35 AM

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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