Billionaire financier Ken Griffin spent $20 million campaigning for Illinois not to raise his taxes amid the coronavirus budget crisis

Ken Griffin

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Ken Griffin really doesn’t want Illinois to raise his taxes.

The billionaire financier has emerged as a leading voice of the campaign against a proposed change to the state’s income tax system, donating $20 million to an organization advocating against the tax changes and writing an op-ed in The Chicago Tribune about why he’s opposed to the proposal.

Illinois is one of the last states in the country with a flat tax rate where everyone pays 4.95% of their income, as 34 states and the District of Columbia already use a progressive model in which the wealthiest residents pay a larger share of their income.

In a statement to Business Insider, Griffin said that while proponents of the new tax scheme, including Governor J. B. Pritzker, say the proposed new structure will be fairer to the states’ neediest residents, it will lead to higher taxes for everyone in the future and send other residents packing.

Griffin, who leads Chicago-based investment firm Citadel and has an estimated net worth of $15 billion, is known for his sprawling real-estate portfolio estimated to be worth $1 billion on its own.

Griffin isn’t the only member of the state’s three comma club who opposes the tax. Equity Group Investments’ Sam Zell donated $100,000 through a real-estate trust towards efforts to subvert the tax.

Illinois is far from the only state facing a budget crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic. Some states facing shortfalls, like New York, have even debated implementing specialized taxes on billionaires’ fortunes to avoid further cuts to education and health care budgets.

Read Griffin’s statement in full below:

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“People aren’t waiting until November to vote against the economic hardship created by the Springfield’s spending addiction — they’ve been voting with their feet for the past decade as Illinois has lost more residents than any other state in the nation. In that time, two tax increases have already failed to improve our situation, and what’s now being marketed to voters under the guise of a ‘fair tax’ is nothing more than a graduated tax scheme engineered to extract the greatest amount of money possible from all Illinois taxpayers. As we’ve seen in other states with a graduated tax scheme, everyone inevitably pays a higher rate. It’s time the Governor and Illinois legislature stop taking advantage of constituents and wasting hard-earned taxpayer dollars. It’s time for the governor and the legislature to focus on spending our money wisely to provide for better schools, better public safely, better infrastructure and greater opportunities for all our citizens.”

SEE ALSO: Taxing billionaires would be a great way to fund the fight against coronavirus like AOC says — but only if the US government were drastically different

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Source:: Business Insider


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