Illinois Progressive Tax Facts
Click each topic for more information on why you should vote no.
The Progressive Tax Does Nothing to Address Our Sky-High Property Taxes
Illinoisans pay the 2nd highest property taxes in the nation, and these local taxes increase every year. We pay three to four times the property taxes of our neighbors in Indiana and Wisconsin for the same size house, and our taxes go up every year even though our home values are stagnant. Yet the progressive tax will do nothing to reduce our property tax burden. It simply piles additional taxes onto already overburdened Illinois taxpayers.
The Progressive Tax Costs Jobs, Slows Wage Growth, and Hurts Illinois Workers
Before COVID-19, the past five years delivered the greatest economic growth the United States had ever seen. Our neighboring states cut taxes and improved their business climates, resulting in thriving economies, yet the Illinois economy lagged, with Illinois 46th in the nation in private-sector job growth. Now we face the highest unemployment since the Great Depression due to COVID-19. We desperately need jobs and opportunities for Illinois workers, yet the progressive tax is projected to cost Illinois up to 286,000 jobs and $43 billion in economic activity, dropping Illinois to 48th on the State Business Tax Climate Index. This means fewer jobs, slower wage growth, and less opportunity for Illinois workers at a time when we can least afford it.
The Progressive Tax Raises Taxes on the Middle Class and Working Poor
The progressive tax will only raise $3.4 billion, just barely enough to cover the state’s projected $3.4 billion budget deficit. This doesn’t even pay the state’s current $7 billion debt, or the additional $7 billion budget hole from COVID-19, let alone Governor Pritzker’s proposed $10 billion in additional spending. Worse, it does nothing to address the state’s $134 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. As a result, the tax brackets and rates will have to be changed to raise taxes on the middle class, which is what has happened in other states that moved to a progressive tax structure, with higher rates starting at incomes as low as $25,000 per year.
The Progressive Tax Is Just Another Chicago Bailout
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has called for the state to use one third of the progressive tax revenues to bail out Chicago’s near-bankrupt pension funds. This means taxpayers across Illinois would pay higher income taxes to help Chicago cover a $30 billion pension hole, yet another bailout for Chicago.
The Progressive Tax Doesn’t Just “Tax the Rich”
Proponents claim a progressive tax would only tax the rich, yet many of the people who will be hit hardest by this tax are your neighbors who create jobs in your community. This includes your local plumber who started a business and put people to work, your doctor who is still paying off significant college and medical school loans, and your local farmer and manufacturer who are investing in your community, growing the economy, and creating jobs.
The Progressive Tax Increases Our Overall Tax Burden, Already One of the Highest in the Country
Illinois already has one of the highest overall tax burdens in the country, especially after instituting 21 new or increased tax and fee hikes in 2019 including doubling the gasoline tax. The progressive tax would further increase this tax burden, including raising the corporate tax rate to the 2nd highest in the nation and allowing local governments to institute additional income taxes.
The Progressive Tax Hurts Workers and Consumers
The progressive tax would hurt everyone, but especially the middle class and working poor. To absorb the increased taxes, small business owners would have to fire workers, freeze salaries, cut hours and benefits, and increase the cost of goods and services for consumers when many regular Illinoisans are already struggling to get by.
The Progressive Tax Penalizes Family Farmers, Manufacturers, and Small Business Owners
The progressive tax would raise taxes on family farmers, manufacturers, and small business owners, penalizing these job creators for success and taking money away from hard-working families. The impact on the Illinois economy would be devastating, resulting in businesses closing or relocating to other states and family farms going bankrupt.
The Progressive Tax Will Drive Even More Families and Businesses Out of Illinois
Illinois is one of only two states to lose population each of the last five years, with the population decline worsening every year. In fact, 61% of Illinoisans reported considering moving out of state. A progressive tax would further exacerbate the state’s outmigration problem, further shrinking the middle class, uprooting families, and devastating local communities.
The Progressive Tax Gives Springfield Politicians a Blank Check to Spend
Illinois taxpayers cannot trust Springfield politicians with a progressive tax. Eliminating the flat tax removes the last constitutional protection that taxpayers have, giving Springfield politicians the power to change tax brackets and raise taxes anytime they want. This gives Illinois politicians a blank check to spend as much money as they please and then raise taxes on hard-working Illinoisans to fund their overspending. It even allows politicians to reward their allies and special interests with lower taxes while punishing their political enemies.