As Illinoisans finalize their taxes for the July 15 deadline, there’s hope that this will be the last Tax Day we’re forced to file under our state’s current broken tax system. That’s because the Fair Tax is on the ballot for voters to approve this November. The Fair Tax would update our outdated system to one that lifts the burden off our middle and lower-income families by requiring the wealthiest Illinoisans to pay their fair share.
This year, as in years past, our essential workers are forced to pay the same tax rate as millionaires and billionaires. That’s right – the nurses, the grocery store clerks, the janitors who have worked long hours at minimum wage jobs to keep us safe and ensure we have the resources necessary during this pandemic are paying the same tax rate as the wealthiest people who have seen their bottom lines increase in recent months. That’s not only fundamentally unfair, it’s flat out wrong.
But if we pass the Fair Tax this year, next year’s Tax Day would look different. Under the Fair Tax, at least 97 percent of all Illinoisans, including our essential workers, would see their taxes go down or stay the same. Only those making more than $250,000 a year, and businesses making more than $250,000 a year in profit, will see a tax increase, which will generate billions of dollars in additional revenue each year.
Those billions of dollars in new revenue can go towards helping improve our education system that’s been failing our students for too long and strengthening the social service programs that are crucial to so many Illinoisans, especially in the last few difficult months. This will go a long way towards making our state a better place for all who call it home, and a more attractive place for people to move and start their lives.
While paying a little more in taxes when you’re making more than $250,000 a year is a small price to pay for a state that works better for everyone, those who are against the Fair Tax are already organizing their efforts to fight against it. While they’re working under the guise of standing up for small businesses or fighting for workers, it’s clear that they’re only concerned about one thing: protecting the millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy special interests our current tax system benefits.
Since the truth isn’t on their side, they’re depending on outright lies and deception to defend a tax system that’s broken and unfair. These are the same people who have spent years advocating for policies that have gutted our critical social services, underfunded our education system, and hurt the families they’re now pretending to care about. So while it isn’t surprising, they’re working to protect the status quo, it’s disgusting that they’re trying to capitalize on a pandemic to do so.
That’s why we’re more committed than ever to ensuring voters know the truth about the Fair Tax – because when they know that our current tax system forces our essential workers to pay the same tax rate as millionaires and billionaires, they’ll vote to set things right.
So as we mark Tax Day on Wednesday, Illinoisans should realize that we don’t have to be using this unfair and broken system. We just have to pass the Fair Tax this fall, and when Tax Day comes around next year, we’ll be using a better, fairer tax system.
Quentin Fulks is the Chairman of Vote Yes for Fairness.