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CCFB News» October 2020

Members Encouraged to Vote NO on the Progressive Income Tax Amendment

10/01/2020 @ 3:10 pm

The upcoming ballot will ask whether you support changing Illinois’ income tax structure. Vote NO on this question. The amendment would end the state’s flat rate income tax, but it will not solve our state’s fiscal problems.

 

If enacted, the constitutional amendment would no longer require Illinois to have a flat tax – currently set at 4.95% for all Illinoisans – and instead it would allow the state to enact a progressive tax. These rates would initially vary between 4.75% and 7.99% based on a household’s income level.  

 

Revenue from this proposed progressive tax structure is unlikely to meet the state’s projected deficits and debt obligations that are coming in the next few years. And until our state’s politicians get their fiscal house in order, costs will continue to grow, and all our taxes will continue to increase.

 

The progressive tax would shift the taxing burden on the highest earners in the state, but raising taxes on the highest earners will not fix our state’s financial problems and, in the long run, may only lead to higher taxes for all of us. It is a farce to think the top 3% of Illinoisans will cover this additional, multi-billion dollar increase in costs. If asked to do so, these top earners will simply shift assets out of state or will leave Illinois altogether. And, when our state reaches that point, who else is there to be taxed? The other 97% of us. We will be left to cover the holding the bill and lawmakers forced to pick up the tab like we always do.

 

Additionally, we know most of the revenue from the progressive tax will be spent in two places: our state’s exorbitantly high pension costs and debt obligations. And not spent, as proponents claim, on our public schools, social services, and public safety. Lawmakers have been digging themselves into pension and debt holes for decades and now they expect us, the taxpayers, to pull them out. But we taxpayers did not create these problems, lawmakers’ poor policy decisions did. Taxes should not be raised on the folks that had nothing to do with the policy decisions that got us here.

 

Adding to the already dismal financial situation, is our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sudden, months-long halt of our state’s economy means less tax revenue for the state as businesses are not open, workers are laid off, and consumers stay home. Ironically, proponents will claim these lower tax revenues will be used as further justification to support the progressive tax. Don’t be fooled! This unexpected pandemic should NOT be used to advocate for a change in our constitution.

 

Now is not the time to enact a progressive tax in Illinois. The progressive tax will not solve our state’s financial troubles and will, in the long run, lead to higher taxes for all of us. Let’s tell our state lawmakers to get the state’s finances in order before they come after ours by voting NO on the Constitutional Amendment in November.

 

 

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