CHICAGO – Governor Pritzker so desperately wants to remove the flat tax provision from the Illinois Constitution, that he dumped $51.5 million into a campaign that will make it easier for state lawmakers to raise state income tax.
At the same time, Illinois business groups such as the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Farm Bureau, the Technology & Manufacturing Association launched a joint effort to encourage Illinois voters to "Vote No on Progressive Tax" in November 2020.
Changing from a Flat Tax to a Progressive Tax system would be devastating for a state already losing population and businesses. Wealthier Illinoisans already pay more than middle and poorer residents, opponents argue. The more money a person makes the more taxes they pay – even in the flat rate system.
"The progressive tax will cost jobs, slow wage growth and hurt Illinois workers when we're already facing the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression," Steve Rauschenberger, president of the Technology and Manufacturing Association, said from a Rockford manufacturer.
As the largest association of small-to-mid-size manufacturers in Illinois, TMA is devoted to ensuring that Illinois’ third-largest GDP industry remains a driving force for the state’s economy. TMA members stand against the progressive tax because it 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.
Rauschenberger, a former state senator, noted, “The progressive tax is bad for workers and it is bad for consumers. To absorb the increased taxes, small business owners will 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. When we’re already facing the highest unemployment since the Great Depression due to the state government’s response to coronavirus, this is absolutely the wrong time to do something that has proven to cost jobs, slow wage growth, and hurt workers.”
Already, Illinoisans are seeing Pritzker's "Vote Yes for Fairness" ads on their streaming services and online platforms.