By Karen Berner
ACE Communications Team Leader
Due to the global COVID-19 Pandemic, ACE held its first virtual meeting on May 17, 2020. Co-sponsored by the Mission and Social Action Committee of the First Congregational UCC-Naperville, the Zoom presentation featured Sarah Yousuf and Mina Patel from the Community Renewal Society, part of the broader Vote Yes! for Fair Tax Coalition of Illinois organizations.
As it stands right now, Illinois has a flat income tax of 4.95%. The coalition asserts this is fundamentally unfair because the tax burden falls too heavily on the middle class and those struggling to get there. According to the coalition, the bottom 20% of Illinois earners have two times the tax burden of the wealthy. They also think the current system is inadequate because it causes budget deficits that push up property taxes and force cuts to schools, public services, and jobs.
What’s Everyone’s Fair Share?
The Fair Tax would mean lower-income earners would pay a lower tax rate, while higher-income earners would pay a higher tax rate. Coalition members believe this is fundamentally fair because it ensures the wealthy pay their share while lifting the burden off middle and working-class families.
“It’s equity equals justice versus equality,” said Yousuf. “What is everyone’s fair share?”
Statistics cited by the coalition note that at least 97% will see no income tax increase, with a majority of middle and low-income families will actually receive a tax cut. Only those making more than $250,000 a year will pay more. (See the table below.) Coalition members also note the proposed Fair Tax will expand the Illinois property tax credit from 5% to 6% and will implement a child tax credit of $100 per child.
Since the current Illinois tax system is written in the state’s constitution, changing it will require a referendum vote to amend the constitution, which will be on the November 2020 ballot.
Want to Learn More?
For more information on the proposed Illinois Fair Tax, follow the coalition on Facebook and Twitter or sign up as an endorser here. There is also more information at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability website.
For a piece on from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability on how this plan will affect Illinois small businesses, click here. To read about the top four arguments against the Fair Tax, read Eric Zorn’s April 24, 2020 column.
To see the Zoom presentation, click here.
ACE Communications Team Leader Karen Berner has been a professional writer/editor for more than 30 years. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in several magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including the Chicago Tribune, Writer Unboxed, Women’s Fiction Writers, Naperville magazine, and Fresh Fiction. She also is the author of three contemporary women’s fiction novels and is a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association.