By CARL GREEN
Springfield, IL – Governor J.B. Pritzker recently filled in some of the blanks in his plan to change Illinois to a progressive income tax instead of the unfair system now in place. Labor leaders unanimously supported the plan.
“The Fair Tax proposal is responsible, sustainable and practical,” said Michael Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. “The Illinois AFL-CIO commends Governor Pritzker for taking bold action with this proposal. We have long supported a progressive tax system to alleviate the burden on the middle-class and move our state forward.”
Presently, all Illinois tax filers now pay a flat rate of 4.95 percent.
Under Pritzker’s plan, anyone filing at $250,000 or less would get a lower tax bill – representing 97 percent of all taxpayers. They would pay rates ranging from 4.75 percent to 4.95 percent. The biggest group, between $10,000 and $100,000, representing 59 percent of taxpayers, would pay 4.9 percent.
The remaining top three percent would pay rates ranging from 7.75 percent for the “junior rich” to 7.95 percent for those earning $1 million or more.
In addition, the credit for paying property taxes would increase by 20 percent, which will help middle-class homeowners. A $100 child tax credit will be allowed for individuals with $40,000 in income or couples with $60,000. It will gradually phase out at higher income levels and end at $80,000 for individuals and $100,000 for joint filers.
Republicans and business organizations came out against the plan, calling it “a massive job tax on Illinois families,” among other misinformations.
LABOR SUPPORTS PLAN
Reactions from other Labor leaders were uniformly supportive, including these:
• AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch: “Millionaires would pay more while working people pay less. Public services and schools would get needed reinvestment, and the state could pay its bills. Raising needed revenue from those who can afford to pay a little more – while cutting or keeping taxes low for 97 percent of filers – is the fair tax reform that’s long overdue.”
• Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery: “Solving our problems will take both time and real structural change. The governor’s proposal asks the wealthy to pay their fair share so we can invest in schools, higher education and vital services. Alternatives to this plan would be raising taxes on everyone, including those who can least afford it, or cutting public education and services to the bone in a Rauner replay. That would be unacceptable. Our current tax system is unfair and unsustainable, and this is a strong first step.”
• Service Employees State Council President Tom Balanoff: “Illinois’ current tax code puts undue burden on the working people of our state, making it harder for them to put food on the table for their families and get ahead. This proposal will put our state on the path toward fiscal sustainability and good governance.”
See related story: Pritzker budget seeks new revenue sources, savings to reduce debt