Vote 'no' on the Illinois Constitutional Amendment

By Brian Duncan

The mission of the Illinois Farm Bureau is to improve the economic well-being of agriculture and to enrich the quality of farm family life. This mission is backed and enhanced by our grassroots policy resolution process which aims to carry out that mission.

Our grassroots policy process is second to none. It is one of the principles that adds strength to the Illinois Farm Bureau because you, the member, get to choose what we stand for. It’s not an easy process, but that is what makes it so meaningful.

As we look forward to the November general election, there will be one question on the ballot that is tied directly to both IFB’s mission and policies: The question of changing the state constitution to allow a progressive tax rate.

This constitutional amendment was placed on the ballot by the Illinois General Assembly last spring. The amendment would change the state’s tax structure by removing the current flat rate provisions and changing it to allow a progressive income tax.

In our policy resolutions, the Illinois Farm Bureau finds itself in direct opposition to a progressive tax structure. Your current policy resolution states, we are “supporting a moderate flat state income tax structure.” In addition, we have many other policies regarding taxes. In another related policy, it specifically states, “we oppose increased taxes unless accompanied by significant spending cuts. Where taxes are increased, the tax base should be broadened rather than increasing existing tax rates.”

This constitutional amendment will allow the General Assembly to create multiple, different income tax rates and has already built a structure to do that. The tentative progressive rates are one of the proponents’ selling points. The point they make is the proposed rates would allow 97% of taxpayers to pay less than they are now, thus giving a tax break while not meeting the state’s financial obligations. The proponents then proclaim that the amendment will tax the wealthy more in order to make up for the tax breaks being given to the 97%.

Our policy has been vetted by you, the members, as a fair way to tax the citizens of Illinois because everyone, regardless of their beliefs, whether they live upstate or downstate, and regardless of their income, are paying the same tax rate. If the constitutional amendment is approved in November, the government will impose varying tax rates based on how successful you are as an individual or as a corporation.

The amendment simply stated on the ballot reads: A “yes” vote supports repealing the state’s constitutional requirement that the state personal income tax be a flat rate and instead allow the state to enact legislation for a graduated income tax.

A “no” vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thus continuing to require that the state personal income tax be a flat rate and prohibit a graduated income tax.

The General Assembly is asking you to vote on an open-ended question allowing them free rein to modify the tax rates of smaller classes of individuals. Our members, through Illinois Farm Bureau Policy, have purposefully stated that higher marginal income tax rates are inconsistent with economic growth on the federal level and the same reasoning can be applied on the state level.

I stress to you, our members, that we as a collective have evaluated the repercussions of an unchecked progressive tax structure year after year and have reaffirmed our opposition through policy. Don’t let the state try and fix a financial mess by creating yet another financial burden on the citizens of Illinois. Stand firm in your years of thoughtful analysis of policy and rely on what you know to be in the best interest of Illinois Farm Bureau members.

Vote NO on the Illinois Constitutional Amendment Nov. 3.

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