8-Figure Incomes The Norm In Illinois Gov’s Race
The two front-running candidates for Illinois governor released copies of their 2017 state and federal income tax returns on Tuesday, and one immediate conclusion can be drawn.
Both Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic rival JB Pritzker are wealthy. Really wealthy.
Last year, it was Rauner and his wife, Diana, who posted the highest earnings among the two gubernatorial candidates: $52.6 million. Their total federal tax was $13.9 million for a tax rate of 26 percent.
The Rauners paid nearly $2.4 million in state income taxes.
JB and his wife, MK, reported earnings of $41.1 million in 2017. Their total federal tax bill was $14.8 million for a tax rate of 36 percent.
The Pritzkers paid $811,896 in state income taxes.
Despite owning multiple homes, neither couple wound up claiming a state credit for property taxes on their Illinois tax filings.
Neither campaign had an immediate response as to why that credit wasn’t claimed.
The issue of property taxes has been a sensitive one politically for Pritzker.
He has been under fire for obtaining tax breaks on a Gold Coast mansion he and his wife own next to their home that resulted in savings of about $330,000 between 2012 and 2016, according to a recent confidential report from the Cook County inspector general. The Pritzkers successfully lowered the assessment on the property by disabling the toilets, which the inspector general characterized as a “scheme to defraud.”
The Pritzkers have denied any wrongdoing but have refunded the tax savings to the Cook County treasury.
In contrast, the Rauners and Pritzkers earn more than any previous Illinois governor.
For example, former Republican Illinois Gov. James Thompson and his wife, Jayne, reported $178,988 in earnings in 1988, according to media reports.
In 1995, Thompson’s successor, Republican Gov. Jim Edgar, and his wife, Brenda, reported combined earnings of $94,368.
In 1997, Edgar’s successor, Republican Gov. George Ryan, and his wife, Lura Lynn, reported combined earnings of $106,486, though the reliability of Ryan’s accounting was called into question by his 2006 conviction of filing false tax returns, among other charges.
Former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his wife, Patti, reported $267,490 in earnings on their 2006 tax returns.
And finally, Blagojevich’s successor, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, reported $163,470 in earnings on his 2013 tax returns.
Dave McKinney covers state government and politics for WBEZ. Follow him @davemckinney.