Gov. J.B. Pritzker used the Illinois AFL-CIO’s annual Labor political meeting last week to explain why the Labor Movement should support his Fair Tax proposal to create a progressive income tax for Illinois.
The annual Politics and Labor event was sponsored by the state Federation and the Chicago Federation of Labor on Zoom.
Pritzker recounted many of the state’s accomplishments since he was elected with strong support from the Labor Movement in 2018, including the largest infrastructure investment in the state’s history, eliminating a Medicaid backlog to provide health care to some 100,000 people, raising the minimum wage and restoring funding to mental health care, education and senior citizens.
The Fair Tax constitutional amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot would replace the fixed-rate income tax of 4.95 percent, now paid by both the poorest and wealthiest, with a graduated structure. It needs either a 60 percent favorable vote or 50 percent of all ballots submitted.
Under the Fair Tax plan, Pritzker said the highest earners in the state would get a small increase, while everyone else would get a reduction. He sought to dispel false claims about the plan, such as that it would tax retirement income.
“No, the Fair Tax does not tax retirement income. Indeed, retired people, just like everybody else, will get a tax break,” he said. “Now more than ever, it’s vital that essential workers like our nurses, our grocery store clerks, our teachers and our paramedics pay a lower tax rate than millionaires and billionaires.”
MORE FUNDING FOR ESSENTIAL SERVICES
The other key component is that it would bring more funding for essential services.
“The Fair Tax will bring in billions in additional revenue that can be used to fund our schools, lower property taxes and help to ensure our human services and critical programs that many Illinoisans rely on,” Pritzker said. “New educational funding for local schools will help us lower property taxes across the state. That’s just vital, and it’s something that the Fair Tax will do.
“This system is not only fairer, it’s the right thing to do for hard-working families in Illinois. Everybody who makes under $250,000 will get a break. We have a chance to make history and decide what type of state Illinois will be for us and our children.”
To pass the Fair Tax, voters should vote “yes” on Amendment 1.