The Senate late Thursday adopted a resolution containing the language for an informational pamphlet that will be sent to voters before the November election, informing voters of arguments for and against Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to change Illinois’ income tax to a graduated rate structure.
Democrats passed the resolution with no Republican votes, just as the chamber voted last spring for both the actual constitutional amendment and the accompanying proposed income tax rates. The resolution also contains the language that will be used on the November ballot.
The language espousing arguments in favor of the amendment decries Illinois’ flat tax — currently set at 4.95 percent for individuals and 7 percent for businesses — as unfair and uses Pritzker’s language of his so-called “Fair Tax.”
“Illinois’ current tax system unfairly benefits millionaires and billionaires and this amendment will set things right for middle-class and working people,” the pamphlet will say. “Currently, it is unfair that billionaires pay the same tax rate as regular people.”
The language for arguments against the amendment starts out with telling voters that the General Assembly has the power to go back and alter the graduated income tax rates at any time. It criticizes Illinois taxes and spending as “out of control.”
“The amendment gives the legislature the power to increase taxes on any group of taxpayers with no limits and no accountability and without any requirement to use the additional revenue to fund essential needs such as healthcare, education or public safety,” according to the pamphlet language.
Arguments for and against the amendment will both use the coronavirus pandemic as fuel for their side. For example, the argument against the tax says that in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, “now is the worst possible time for a massive tax increase.”
The argument for the amendment says that after the pandemic, “we need to do all we can to help the economy and middle class and working people.”