The Blog

It's Time for a Fair Tax in Illinois

Illinois is a state that prides itself on hard work and fairness; we just need a tax system that reflects those values.
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In Illinois, we've seen a plethora of attempts to make taxpayers think that the state is broke. Corporate-funded advocacy groups masquerading as think tanks issue report after report claiming that state is broke and advocating for more cuts to the services that benefit working families. They fail to mention that moving Illinois from its current, archaic tax structure to a fair tax would alleviate the state's revenue issues.

There is also a deafening silence about the corporate kickbacks that siphon off a sizable amount of our tax base. For example, food-processing corporation Archer Daniels Midland created much of its fortune in the state of Illinois, where its headquarters are located. ADM is now threatening to move out of state unless it gets a tax break. ADM should remain in the state of Illinois and pay its fair share of taxes because it's the right thing to do. However, ADM has made it clear that without this significant tax break -- around $20 million -- it will leave the state and take its jobs elsewhere. Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, was very clear about where he stands on this issue, which affects education funding for the students IFT members serve.

"It might be win-win for the 1 percent corporate elite at Archer Daniels Midland to have a multi-million dollar corporate tax gift from the state of Illinois, but it's lose-lose for the people in the state," he said.

The IFT is working with the A Better Illinois coalition to fix the state's revenue problems in a way that's fair to working families. It's clear that more tax breaks for the highest earners won't fix the problem; making them pay their fair share will.

A Better Illinois is a coalition representing a diverse group of state residents and small business owners who are fed up with Illinois' fiscal problems and its "out-of-date" tax code that, they say, bogs down the middle class and hinders economic growth.

The coalition is pushing for a more fair and accountable government, specifically one that will protect Illinois' key priorities that it says have been shortchanged for far too long, including education, health care, public safety and human services.

The Coalition is advocating for a fair tax system.

The system, if implemented, would apply higher rates to larger incomes and lower rates to smaller incomes... Implementing the plan could equal a tax break to many middle-class citizens, said Kristen Crowell, campaign director of A Better Illinois.

The status quo is a system where wealthy individuals and corporations play by very different rules than the rest of us. What this state needs now is a recalibration of our tax system that aligns with our principles. Illinois is a state that prides itself on hard work and fairness; we just need a tax system that reflects those values.