SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Fair Tax Amendment is a heated subject on the November 3 ballot.
Illinoisans will be asked to either keep the state’s income tax system at a flat tax of 4.95 percent or allow legislators to change it to graduated tax, where people with higher incomes pay more than those with lower incomes.
Governor J.B. Pritzker is pushing hard to get this amendment passed.
“People who are opposed to the fair tax want to put the burden on people who can’t afford it,” Pritzker said. “I want to put burden on people who can most afford it. The millionaires and billionaires in Illinois.”
But business owners and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce are opposed to Pritzker’s tax plan, claiming it will hurt the state.
“The progressive income tax amendment is simply a big bag of cash dropped at the back door of the capitol for the ethically-challenged legislature to spend however they want,” said Todd Maisch, the CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. “Amid snowballing corruption investigations and a COVID-19 recession, now is the most dangerous time to give our politicians free-reign of our paychecks.”
Joe McMahon, director of government affairs for the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association, adds: “Now is the worst possible time to increase taxes on our business that are fighting to keep their doors open and their teams employed.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Pritzker has poured $56.5 million of his own money into the Vote Yes for Fairness Committee, which is trying to get the initiative passed. The state’s richest man, hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, put in $20 million to fight Pritzker.
The governor says he’s also trying to protect Illinoisans’ retirement.
“If opponents of the Fair Tax have their way, they would tax retirement income,” Pritzker said. “They’ve proposed that.”
The legislation would take effect January 1, 2021 if voters vote yes on the amendment.