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Illinois Mirror Calls Out Rich Miller For Deceit on Tax Issue

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Rich Miller cannot catch a break.

Instead of moving on from the realization that he’s pocketed $250,000 since 2005 after claiming the state had nothing left to cut from its budget, the political gossip columnist is once again in the cross-hairs of a familiar foe. This time it’s for misleading the public.

Rich Miller, Owner of CaptiolFax.com.

Rich Miller, Owner of CaptiolFax.com.

During the past few months, Gov. Pat Quinn (D-Chicago) has called for making the four-year tax hike permanent, saying it’s either that or the state needs to make steep cuts to vital services. Miller, who runs the online political gossip blog called CapitolFax.com, questioned whether the governor ever actually said the tax hike would be temporary.

“He was always pretty vague on that topic until his budget address (this year),” Miller said on his blog. Eric Kohn, editor of media watchdog site Illinois Mirror, called Miller’s selective memory on the issue.

“Oh really?” Kohn said. “Check out this video posted at Rich Miller’s own YouTube account.” (Emphasis Kohn’s) He proceeds to link a YouTube video of the governor saying a number of times that the tax increase would be a temporary four-year increase. Miller did not ignore the video, however, but claims that Quinn didn’t say he would keep it temporary, only that “We will deal with this one day at time, one week, one month, one year at a time.”

This didn’t appease the libertarian watchdog, who took Miller to task over the omission by citing three different times Quinn said the tax hike was temporary leading up to the quote Miller mentioned before going off on the political maneuver made to pass the tax hike, which increased the flat income tax rate from 3.75 percent to the current 5 percent.

“Because it would have been much more difficult politically to get legislators to vote on an income tax increase that wasn’t promised to go away in a few years,” he said.  “Making promises that it would be temporary provided political cover to get the tax hike he wanted.”

Illinois’ 5 percent tax increase is set to expire at the end of the year, however proposals are in the Illinois General Assembly to change that. One proposal will make the current rate permanent while a more recent proposal has Illinois changing from a flat-tax state to a progressive-tax state.

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Justin Shimko

Justin Shimko is an award-winning writer and political analyst. He began as a reporter in his college days at the University of Oklahoma, writing for The Oklahoma Daily (rated as one of the best collegiate newspapers in the nation) and The Oklahoman, the statewide newspaper, winning awards from the CSPA and the Society of Professional Journalists. He later moved on to research and writing work for a number of political campaigns. His email is [email protected]

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