“There is so much uncertainty with my income, so I must keep working. The cost of living is very high.

“I retired from my regular benefit job at a hospital two plus years ago because I just could not do it anymore at 65.

“Because I really did not have steady employment, I do not have a pension. I began at an employer in 1987 and retired in 2018. If I stayed for the full 31 years, I would be getting a pension, but unfortunately, I interrupted my service there for seven years.

“I have always worked in the private sector my entire career. I established an IRA over 30 years ago and I try to make the maximum contribution every year to defer federal tax liability.

“I work at a health system surgery center. Because my status is very part time, the benefits are limited. I am able to participate in the 401(k) retirement plan, however the employer match was recently eliminated due to COVID-19 related expenditures.

“I am paying Medicare B health insurance, Medicare B supplement, Medicare D prescription insurance and private dental insurance. These costs are currently $320 per month, with deductibles and co-pays. The premiums increase yearly.

“With the high overall cost of living, I have a lot more going out than coming in. This is why I must keep working at age 68.

“I was very fortunate to sell my home on March 23. Surprisingly, it sold quickly and at full asking price. However, I lost $100,000 in value over 20-plus years. I am so happy to be rid of high real estate taxes, but I still pay them indirectly through the high cost of renting in the greater Chicago area.

“The fair tax is a total misnomer. Lower income people would eventually be taxed a higher rate as higher earners and businesses leave Illinois. I am just praying that the unfair tax is defeated on Nov. 3. I am doing everything I can on social media and talking to family, friends and neighbors to get the no vote out there.

“I am spreading the word as much as I can that flat is fair, because everyone pays the same rate but not the same amount. To raise rates on people that are making certain amounts penalizes them for trying to get ahead and be successful. Those people are going to leave Illinois.

“If it does pass, I am going to immediately work even more than I am now and accelerate my plan to move out of state. I will just keep working as long as I can. I was not ready to move out of Illinois right after selling my house because I had many things to wrap up. My plan is to leave Illinois after two years and move to Tennessee, a tax-friendly and lower cost-of-living state.

“It is all a move toward trying to confiscate people’s wealth. It is bad for Illinois and it is unfair. They are trying to deceive people into believing the fair tax would be good. I am seeing more and more that are against it.

“If they start taxing retirement, are they going to exclude the public sector pensions? Why would the big unions in Illinois be in favor of their members’ pensions being taxed? I would not be surprised if those people would be exempt.

“I do not want my retirement taxed. This is wrong and confiscatory. I earned, I saved and I invested. Why should the government take that?”

Laura Valdez
Chicago, Illinois