Vote no on Illinois’ constitutional amendment

By Richard Guebert, IFB president

This November, Illinoisans will be asked to vote on an issue that is just as important to Illinois as electing the next president of the United States. The general election ballot will ask voters whether they support a state constitutional amendment that would allow for a progressive income tax structure to take effect in Illinois.

Illinois’ current income tax is a flat income tax. This means everyone’s income is taxed at the same rate, regardless of earnings. A progressive income tax would tax different levels of income at different rates. This means that, as your earnings increase, portions of your income would be taxed at higher rates. Effectively, the government would have the ability to target specific groups of people and tax their income differently.

Today, Illinois’ flat income tax is set at 4.95%. This rate applies to a filer’s entire adjusted income.

Should the constitutional amendment pass, the chart above shows the progressive income tax structure that would take effect Jan. 1, 2021.

There are a lot of promises associated with this constitutional amendment and its resulting tax hike. Politicians have promised this will save us from our state’s fiscal woes. The new tax structure is supposed to pay for our public schools, social services, public safety, and the list goes on and on.

However, we know it will be spent in two places: our state’s exorbitantly high pension costs and debt obligations. The government created these two problems, not us taxpayers. We, taxpayers, have done our jobs; we are law-abiding, taxpaying citizens. We should not have to pay to fix the politicians’ mess.

You may have heard this constitutional amendment being dubbed the “Fair Tax.” I would argue that treating people differently based on an arbitrary standard, determined by the government, is the opposite of fair. Fair means treating everyone equally. Period.

This constitutional amendment, or the so-called “Fair Tax,” is bad news for taxpayers. Proponents may claim that most Illinoisans’ taxes will not be changed. But we know better. Until our state’s politicians get their fiscal house in order, costs will continue to grow, and all our taxes will continue to increase. Rather than spend time on policies that raise taxes, Illinois’ politicians should focus on enacting policies that force our government to live within its means, just like all households across the state. They should focus on making life better – not worse – for working people by reducing income and property taxes, adding jobs and growing our economy.

I know that right now this may not seem important in light of everything else going on around us. However, before you know it, the election will be upon us, and we must let everyone know that voting no on this question is vitally important. Illinois’ fiscal problems are only going to grow as the state continues to deal with COVID-19.

One of the consequences will be less tax revenue for the state as businesses are closed, workers are laid off and consumers stay home. Amendment proponents are likely to use these lower tax revenues as further justification to support the constitutional amendment and new progressive tax. Don’t be fooled. This unexpected situation should NOT be used to advocate for a change to our constitution.

We need to make sure we don’t make matters harder for us all. This November, vote NO on the Illinois constitutional amendment.

This story was provided by