By now most registered voters in Carroll County will have received a brochure from Secretary of State Jesse White's office concerning the proposed amendment to the Illinois constitution which would allow a graduated income tax, and outlining arguments for and against the amendment. I would like to point out some specific facts emphasizing why voters should vote for the constitutional amendment.
As the brochure clearly states, a graduated income tax and the new tax law which goes into effect when the amendment passes will mean that those with higher incomes will pay taxes at a higher rate, and that only those individuals and couples with a taxable income of $250,000 or higher will see an increase in their taxes.
How many individuals and couples in Carroll County do you know who have a taxable income in excess of $250,000? For practically everyone in Carroll County, the amendment and the new tax law will mean the same or lower, not higher, amounts of Illinois income taxes paid.
Further, many people in Carroll County view the State of Illinois government in Springfield as some distant entity which doesn't understand or care about us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Significant amounts of the Carroll County general fund and the Carroll County school districts' budgets come from the State of Illinois.
For a Savanna example, at least 38% of the budget for the new waste water/sewage plant came from the State of Illinois (Source: City of Savanna Wastewater Treatment Plant Budget). So Carroll County uses and needs State of Illinois dollars, and needs that source of funding to remain stable, particularly with the decline in State sales tax revenue caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Regarding the arguments against the proposed amendment in the brochure, some additional facts need to be stated. Concerning the power of the legislature to increase taxes, the legislature has that power already. The amendment and the new law would give the legislators the authority to balance the needs of the Illinois middle class and the significant resources of the wealthy.
Considering the problem of unfunded pension liability, please remember that teachers and other state employees paid their share into the pension fund by money withdrawn from their paychecks. Lawmakers of both parties for years did not pay all the required State dollars into the fund. The amendment and new law would create a stable source of funding to reduce that debt.
Regarding high state property taxes and sales taxes, the new law would increase the property tax credit and child care credit when calculating Illinois income tax owed.
Illinois is one of the few states with a flat tax. The majority of states, including states around Illinois, have a graduated income tax. Illinois needs to join the majority and put State finances on a stable basis.
The amendment is often called the Fair Tax Amendment, which is an appropriate title because isn't it fair that someone making a million in annual taxable income should pay taxes at a higher rate than someone making $50,000?
If you believe in fairness, as I do, vote yes on the amendment to the Illinois constitution in the Nov. 3 election.
Carol L. and John F. Gloor