Unions spend nearly $5M to push property tax hikes through Amendment 1

Unions spend nearly $5M to push property tax hikes through Amendment 1

The majority of the support for a constitutional amendment that would raise taxes on Illinoisans comes from union coffers, with nearly $5 million donated so far. Unions also funded the failed progressive tax push in 2020.

Unions so far have donated nearly $5 million in support of Amendment 1, which is disguised as a “workers’ rights” amendment to the Illinois Constitution but in reality is full of guaranteed tax hikes for all Illinoisans, which explains why unions are pushing so hard for it.

Amendment 1 is on the ballot Nov. 8. It would guarantee a $2,149 property tax hike during the next four years by strengthening union bargaining powers to the point that government would be nearly powerless to control the costs.

Illinoisans already suffer under the highest state and local tax burden in the Midwest, thanks to generous contracts and retirements won by powerful public unions from the elected leaders they helped bankroll. If Illinois becomes the only state to enshrine union powers in its constitution, taxpayers will face ever greater demands.

Unions have already tried to exert their power over tax policy by pushing for a constitutional amendment in 2020 which would have made it easier for lawmakers to raise taxes on everyone. The progressive tax – dubbed a “fair tax” by proponents, including unions – would have done away with the flat tax constitutional protection so government could tax the same $1 more than once and clear a path to tax retirees.

Unions and their political action committees donated over $1.7 million in support of the progressive tax campaign, but voters concerned about expanding government taxation powers and retirement taxes rejected the proposal. Now voters must again stand up to union-backed tax increases and curb union leaders’ influence over state policy and taxpayer pocketbooks.

So far, over 70% of the funds contributed to the committee formed to pass Amendment 1 has come from unions. Among the unions donating are government unions such as AFSCME Council 31, the American Federation of Teachers, the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Service Employees International Union. These same government unions helped fund the failed progressive tax amendment in 2020.

Illinois’ labor laws already provide some of the broadest protections in the country to state and local government employee unions. But union bosses want to see how far they can extend their power, especially since losing their main ally: indicted former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. Illinois is fertile ground to test what would be the most extreme labor law in the nation.

Unions often run legislation in a test state before trying in other states or even at the federal level. But Illinoisans deserve more than being a test-case for extreme labor laws that would make Illinois an even worse place to do business and guarantee higher taxes and debt.

Citizens and businesses are already fleeing Illinois for better opportunities: 114,000 residents last year, and corporate headquarters for Boeing, Caterpillar and Citadel. Amendment 1 threatens to make that exodus even worse.

Should Amendment 1 pass, Illinois’ $313 billion pension debt will continue to balloon as state and local taxes, which are already among the highest in the nation, rise in an attempt to keep up. Spending on vital programs will continue to fall. Illinois’ housing and labor markets are already suffering as high taxes and reduced services make finding a job and living in the state tenuous.

But Illinoisans will have the chance to stand up to special interest powers seeking to jeopardize their state and defend their pocketbooks on Nov. 8. Voters need to ask themselves: Will Amendment 1 fix what’s wrong with Illinois, or make things worse?

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