Progressive income tax amendment moves to ballot

May 27, 2019

Statement from CEO John Tillman

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 27, 2019) – The Illinois House voted 73-44-1 today to pass Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1, an amendment that would eliminate Illinois’ flat income tax protection, allow lawmakers to double or triple tax the same dollar earned, and open the door for the nation’s highest tax on business income. Now, an amendment to change Illinois’ income tax structure will appear on the November 2020 ballot.

John Tillman, CEO of the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute, offered the following statement: 

“It is universally acknowledged that the state of Illinois is in a financial and economic crisis. What’s even worse is the crisis of confidence among our citizens.

“Perhaps the best indicator of this crisis is a recent Census report that showed Illinois losing population in every metropolitan area, including Chicago. Illinois is one of the only states to lose population every year over the past five years.

“When we first started highlighting the Illinois exodus, one person left every 10 minutes. Now, after the 2011 and 2017 tax hikes, one person is leaving every 4.6 minutes. The growing wave of Illinoisans leaving the state will become a tsunami if a progressive tax is implemented in Illinois.

“Politicians call the progressive tax ‘fair,’ but omit that it would actually mean a middle-class tax hike to pay for pensions.

“They have failed to disclose what tax rates Illinoisans will end up paying.

“They have yet to present the abundance of fiscal reforms available to fix Illinois’ perpetual budget crisis, leading the people to believe there are no alternatives to save this state.

“A multimillion-dollar fight for the future of this state begins today. But we already know everything we need to know: Income inequality remains higher in states with progressive income taxes, suggesting that progressive taxation hasn’t been any more effective at combatting rising income inequality. The gap between the rich and the poor remains unchanged regardless of whether or not a state has a progressive income tax.

“On the other hand, states without progressive income taxes and a lower income taxburden enjoy a higher living standard. They see lower unemployment rates and less inequality. It is not surprising they have been able to attract Americans from high-tax states like ours.

“For decades Illinois politicians have promised us that higher taxes, more government spending and increased debt will solve our state’s fiscal nightmare. But today our debts are higher and the state’s budget crisis is worse than ever before. No matter how much money we give the politicians, they always want more. Only the people can stop them by saying no to the progressive tax in November 2020.”

For bookings or interviews, contact media@illinoispolicy.org or (312) 607-4977.