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Billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker and wife M.K.’s state taxable income was nearly $5.1 million in 2020, more than double what they reported the previous year despite the economic turmoil created by the coronavirus pandemic, according to partial tax records Pritzker’s reelection campaign released Friday.
The Pritzkers’ 2020 taxable income also was the highest it’s been since before the year he was elected governor. The couple reported state taxable income of $2.4 million during his first year in office in 2019 and $4.4 million during the 2018 election year. In 2017, the year Pritkzer left the private equity firm he ran with his brother, the couple’s state taxable income was $55 million.
But the tax records released Friday — the top pages of Pritzker’s federal and state returns — paint only a partial picture of the vast wealth held by the Hyatt Hotels heir, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $3.6 billion as of Friday. That puts him at No. 318 on the magazine’s list of the wealthiest people in the U.S. and No. 859 in the world.
Much of Pritzker’s wealth is held in domestic and offshore trusts, many of which were set up in the Bahamas by his grandfather. The trusts paid $69.6 million in federal taxes and $16.3 million to the state in 2020, up from $33 million in federal taxes and $6.7 million to the state the prior year, according to the campaign.
The campaign has declined to release any tax records related to the trusts.
The Pritzkers paid $529,104 in federal taxes on their personal income in 2020 and $230,643 to the state.
The couple made $2.8 million in personal charitable contributions last year, according to his campaign. That figure is dwarfed by the more than $62 million he contributed to his campaign fund and a fund supporting his failed graduated-rate income tax proposal, which votes resoundingly rejected in November.
Pritzker, the nation’s wealthiest elected official, chipped in another $35 million to his reelection effort in April, even before he’d officially announced his intention to seek another term. He gave $171.5 million to his 2018 campaign, at the time a national record for self-funded candidates.
Pritzker does not take a salary from the state.
So far, four Republicans have declared their candidacy for the party’s nomination to face Pritzker next year: state Sen. Darren Bailey of Xenia, Bull Valley businessman Gary Rabine, venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan of Petersburg and former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo.
After being elected, Pritzker gave control of his personal investments to an independent trustee at Northern Trust Co., a move he said would allow him to avoid potential conflicts of interest. He also promised to divest himself of “his personally-held direct interests in companies that have contracts” with the state, though he has never provided a full accounting of those transactions.
Pritzker and his multimillionaire predecessor, Republican Bruce Rauner, both said state economic interest disclosure requirements prevented them from putting their assets in true blind trusts.
The governor also has said the rules governing his family trusts don’t permit them to be placed in a blind trust. He pledged to relinquish any decision-making power in those trusts, which he has not identified by name or location, and has said he doesn’t receive reports on their performance.