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dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">Gov. J.B. Pritzker wouldn't address the fake tweet a pro income tax change group he funds paid to promote on Facebook.
So far this year, Pritzker has given the group Vote Yes For Fairness $56.5 million. Last week the group used at least $10,000 to promote on Facebook a screenshot of a tweet purportedly from @Liz_Uihlein that said “Why should I be expected to subsidize my employees’ taxes?” the tweet said. “They don’t need a handout from me, they already get a paycheck. Vote NO on the tax hike amendment. #FairTax #FairTaxNow.”
Vote Yes For Fairness said of the purported tweet “Billionaires like Liz Uihlein don’t care about our middle and lower-income families - they only care about protecting their bottom line,” and urged for a yes vote for the amendment.
A publicist for the Uline company said the tweet was fake and Liz Uihlein has never had a Twitter account. The account, they said, was taken down for being an imposter account.
Messages seeking comment from Vote Yes For Fairness about the promotion of the fake tweet were not returned.
When asked Wednesday if funding the promotion of a fake tweet is dishonest and if he would have taken the post down, Pritzker didn’t address the spread of misinformation.
"Well, I think we all know that people who are supporting the vote no campaign are essentially working against the middle class, working against people who can least afford to pay the taxes that people on the other side would like them to pay – for them, by the way," the governor said. "And so, that's why I'm on the other side. I think that we ought to be fighting for working-class families, for working families all across the state, it's why I've been a significant supporter of the Vote Yes campaign."
Illinois Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Maisch opposes the tax change. He said the move will hurt the middle class and small businesses. In response to the fake tweet, he said that was unfortunate.
“I don’t want to cast aspirations on somebody’s motivations,” Maisch said. “I understand they probably saw it and put it right back out there and they were just guilty of not doing good due diligence.”
Business groups oppose the amendment. Labor unions support it. If the amendment is approved by voters, unions could get access to increased funding through public contracts and employment.
During a forum on Wednesday hosted by the Springfield State Journal-Register and WMAY, Jake Lewis with Vote Yes For Fair Tax, a group separate from Vote Yes For Fairness, said the opposition is being driven by organizations led by people who make more than $250,000 a year.
“So I think a lot of these organizations are headed by very wealthy people who simply want to keep their own sweet deal here,” Lewis said.
Maisch said that was a misleading argument. He said the nonprofits that oppose the amendment are going to bat for their members.
“The average salary for a business owner is often $60,000 or $70,000 because they take the extra money they’ve got and instead of putting it in their own bank accounts, they put it back into the business so they can grow and sustain their business,” Maisch said.
He said many small businesses will be hit with the tax increase. He also said the proposed amendment could open up the double taxation of one dollar.
Voters will get their say in whether to change the state’s flat income tax to one with higher rates on higher earners in the Nov. 3 election.