Illinois’ Democratic candidates for governor used their last public debate before the primary to pound front-runner J.B. Pritzker on his secret offshore tax holdings.
On the day of the Democrats’ final debate before the March 20 primary, the Chicago Tribune released an investigation showing another of Pritzker’s various offshore companies is working on purchasing land from the city of Chicago.
The billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune has been dodging Chicago Tribune reporters seeking a comment about newly discovered offshore holdings of his being tied to a potential purchase of land owned by the city of Chicago, according to the Tribune.
Throughout the debate hosted by WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, Pritzker repeated that any divestments from his Hyatt inheritance go to his philanthropic organizations, splitting the slight difference between a trust and a company.
“There were trusts created generations ago. I don’t receive any distributions from those trusts. Those distributions go to charity,” he said.
Records leaked from an offshore law firm that have become known as the Paradise Papers show Pritzker has formed offshore companies as recently as 2011.
The paper reports Moreau Capital Holdings Ltd., which is owned by Pritzker and was created in the Bahamas, is part of a deal with his brother, Robert, to purchase the riverfront land. They reportedly aim to sell duck boat tours out of the location. Pritzker said the paper was incorrect.
State Sen. Daniel Biss was the first to pounce.
“J.B. Pritzker set up companies offshore, probably to avoid taxes, and spent the entire last year lying about it,” Biss said.
Chris Kennedy, a Chicago businessman and son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, said Pritzker’s dishonesty should disqualify him.
“We’re interviewing for a job to be the next governor of the state of Illinois,” Kennedy said. “You should never hire someone who lies to you during a job interview because if they’ll lie to you to get the job, they’ll lie to you to keep the job.”
Pritzker and Kennedy went after Biss’ support for a pension reform bill that would eventually be shot down in the courts. Kennedy took heat over comments that were seen as supportive of taxing retirement income.
All three gave varying degrees of dissatisfaction with House Speaker Michael Madigan and his handling of an ongoing harassment allegations on his watch.
Illinois’ primary elections are Tuesday.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face either Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner or his GOP primary opponent, Rep. Jeanne Ives.
Article by Cole Lauterbach. For more Illinois News Network content, visit ILNews.org Image courtesy of BlueRoomStream. Gubernatorial candidates J.B. Pritzker, Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss participate in the last Democratic debate before the March 20 Primary Election.
Langfelder remains confident in his Township merger question
Springfield is on its way to eliminating a unit of government. Capital Township, which is coterminous with the City of Springfield, is moving towards consolidation. Currently, Sangamon County is trying to get the township to merge with the county. But Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder is pushing the effort for the township to be merged into the city.
The County’s effort had strong momentum going for it before the election. Both the township board and the county have approved the merger. To further solidify their mandate, they put a non-binding question on the November 6th ballot. That question asked if the county and township should pursue a full merger. The effort passed with 75 percent support, or 31,800 votes.
Despite the progress the County’s effort is making, Langfelder still thinks the city should take over the township. He remains confident that voters will support his ballot question. But that support will have to come in two parts. Because the Springfield City Council declined to endorse his question, Langfelder will need signatures to get on the April ballot at all, in addition to getting votes on Election Day.
Republicans Davis and LaHood hold onto congressional seats
Both Congressmen who serve the Springfield area retained their seats last night. Darin LaHood (R-18) and Rodney Davis (R-13) will be going back to Washington DC. LaHood had a decisive victory with 67.5 percent of the vote against Democrat Junius Rodriguez who took 32.5 percent. Davis had a much closer race. He won out over Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan by a margin of just 3,700 votes.
But Illinois Congressional races generally went towards the Democrats. The 6th District went to Sean Casten over Republican incumbent Peter Roskam. Lauren Underwood came out over Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren in the 14th. These races were part of the Democrats retaking of the US House of Representatives. Illinois now has 13 Democratic and 5 Republican Congressional Representatives.
Even in the races they won, Republicans have reasons to be concerned. LaHood received 57,000 fewer votes in his rematch against Rodriguez than he did in 2016. Rodriguez’s total dropped just 3,000 votes. Davis faced a similar situation. Where the Democrats actually gained 5,000 votes in the 13th, Davis’ total declined by 52,000.
While a win is a win, even these high points of last night’s election should be worrying to the Illinois Republican Party.
Sales tax and township consolidation propositions pass
In addition to the candidates running for office, there were several questions on the ballot for voters in Sangamon County. One question was if Capital Township should be consolidated with Sangamon County. The other was if there should be a one percent sales tax to help schools pay for facility improvements.
Both questions passed. The township question passed handily with 75 percent of the vote. The sales tax was approved much more narrowly, 53 to 47 percent.
Because it was a non-binding question, the township vote will do nothing by itself. It will, however, strengthen the case for the county and township to consolidate.
The sales tax referendum was a binding question, and will go into effect July of 2019. It is expected to raise about $10 million for District 186, and another $10 million for other districts in Sangamon County.