Groups weigh pros and cons of Pritzker’s progressive income tax amendment

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ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Gov. Pritzker’s graduated income tax amendment won’t be voted on until Nov., but many organizations are weighing in to influence public opinion on the matter.

In a press conference Tuesday, a statewide coalition of small business organizations united to urge people to vote against the progressive income tax plan. Organizations include the Illinois Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB), the National Federation of Independent Business Illinois (NFIB), and the Technology and Manufacturing Association (TMA).

“The progressive tax increase is the same thing as leaving a huge bag of taxpayers’ cash at the backdoor of the statehouse and city hall,” ICC President Todd Maisch said.

“None of the money is dedicated to property tax relief, increased funding of education, public safety, or pension debt relief. Politicians arrogantly demand that hard-working taxpayers trust them to spend the money wisely. We don’t.”

IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. had similar comments on the proposed tax plan.

“What this new progressive tax will actually do is take us down the same route that these proposals have gone in other states. To cover all of Springfield’s spending and debt, the tax brackets and rates will have to be changed to raise taxes on the middle class and even the working poor, with higher rates starting at incomes as low as $25,000 per year. So while proponents claim the progressive tax would only tax ‘the rich,’ many of whom are local leaders like family farmers who are investing in their communities and creating jobs, the truth is that this amendment will open up every Illinoisan to tax increases.“

Richard Guebert Jr., Illinois Farm Bureau President

Quentin Fulks, former Pritzker campaign manager and chairman for the Vote Yes For Fairness Political Action Committee, addressed the press conference in a statement Tuesday.

“Today’s press conference was the height of hypocrisy, put on by a group masquerading as a grassroots organization whose sole purpose is to protect the millionaires and billionaires who have benefited from Illinois’ unfair tax system for far too long,” Fulks said. “

“It’s despicable that they’re trying to capitalize on the coronavirus pandemic to protect the wealthiest Illinoisans, while so many families are struggling to make ends meet. Sadly, it comes as no surprise given these organizations have spent decades advocating for policies that decimated critical services, left our education system criminally underfunded, and hurt our nurses, grocery store clerks, paramedics, and other essential workers.”

Fulks said the majority of residents would not have to pay more as a result of the tax plan.

“The Fair Tax will only affect small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year in profit, while at least 97 percent of Illinoisans will see no income tax increase or a tax cut,” Fulks said.

“Now more than ever, we need to change our tax system from one where our essential workers pay the same tax rate as millionaires and billionaires to one that finally makes the wealthiest Illinoisans pay their fair share. It’s clear from today’s press conference that opponents of the Fair Tax can only use desperate lies to try and mislead Illinois voters to keep the status quo in place, and Vote Yes For Fairness won’t let them go unanswered.”

Quentin Fulks, Vote Yes For Fairness Chairman

More information on the arguments for and against the proposed tax plan can be found here.

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