Ralph Martire

A Roosevelt professor and leading expert on many of the region's public policy challenges believes a proposed graduated rate income tax for Illinois is a sound and fair solution for addressing some of the state's significant fiscal problems.

Serving as a panelist for a City Club luncheon held on April 9, Ralph Martire, Roosevelt's Arthur Rubloff Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration, argued for a graduated rate income tax plan recently introduced by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

"Fairness and responsiveness" make the graduated rate income tax a sound policy option for helping to solve Illinois' fiscal problems, Martire said during "The State of the Illinois Budget" panel discussion.

Martire teaches courses at Roosevelt on fiscal policy issues. He also recently served as a member of the transition team that advised then incoming governor-elect Pritzker on budget challenges facing Illinois.

"Ralph Martire is one of our most distinguished and knowledgeable experts on Illinois' financial problems, including its pension and education-funding crises," said Bonnie Gunzenhauser, dean of Roosevelt's College of Arts and Sciences.

Joining the full-time faculty in June 2018, the Roosevelt professor also is a lawyer, community activist and frequent expert guest on radio and TV. He also won election earlier this month to the Oak Park River Forest High School board, after running a campaign focused on building racial equity at that school.

Advocating for a graduated rate income tax in Illinois, Martire said "every other tax available to the state is regressive in impact. The Pritzker administration has it right if we want to create some fairness in our tax system."

The Roosevelt professor believes taxes on gaming and revenues from legalization of marijuana can be interim ways to help plug the state's deficit, but are definitely not the long-term solutions needed to solve the state's structural fiscal problems.

"We need to raise adequate tax revenue to cover the state's expenditures on core services—like education and healthcare—and to reduce the pension deficit," said Martire, who disputed the notion that a graduated rate income tax will cause the state"s wealthiest residents to leave Illinois. He said weather, housing costs and rising tuition at Illinois' public universities are more likely to blame for migration out of Illinois than is tax policy.

To talk with the Roosevelt professor about these and other public policy issues, contact rmartire@roosevelt.edu, 312-341-3766 or Laura Janota, director of public relations at ljanota@roosevelt.edu or 312-341-3511.

Further remarks by Martire and other guest panelists at the City Club of Chicago's April 9 "The State of the Illinois Budget" event can be viewed at https://www.cityclub-chicago.org/

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