* The group is actually upset that the proposed “Fair Tax” doesn’t raise enough money…
A group of executives from the state’s leading employers on Tuesday came out against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax referendum, saying approval of the measure on the November ballot “all but promises that Illinois will not address its long-term financial challenges.”
The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago said in a statement that its opposition to the proposal is “based on the state’s decades-long history of fiscal mismanagement.”
“The result will be further loss of jobs and people, long-term cuts in critical social services, a shrinking tax base burdened with growing debt and a guarantee that Illinois will continue to have the worst credit rating of any state in the country,” the group said.
* Don’t believe me? From its policy statement…
Proponents of the amendment seem to think that a graduated income tax will do the trick, and that the projected $3.6 billion in additional revenue is enough to address the State’s financial difficulties. It is not.
* Press release…
Vote Yes For Fairness Chairman Quentin Fulks released the following statement in response to the Civic Committee:
“It’s no surprise that an organization of the wealthiest people in our state who have benefited from avoiding paying their fair share for 50 years is voicing their opposition to the Fair Tax. Instead of standing up for working people, the Civic Committee has repeatedly advocated for increasing the flat tax by 20% and implementing a retirement tax because they prefer to put the tax burden on our lower and middle-income families and seniors.
“The choice facing Illinois voters is clear: Either vote yes for the Fair Tax to ask the wealthiest in the state to pay their fair share and give a tax cut to 97% of Illinoisans, or let the millionaires and billionaires have their way and make hardworking families pay.”
See the Civic Committee’s report, where they advocate for increasing the flat tax and implementing a retirement tax, here.
The Civic Committee in a 2019 report called for an $8 billion package of tax increases, budget cuts and more funding for Illinois’ massively underfunded public employee pension systems to stabilize the state’s finances. That report called for increasing the flat-rate tax by 20%, from the current rate of 4.95% to 5.95%, as well as imposing the income tax on retirement income.
Both issues have surfaced in the debate over the fate of the proposed amendment.
Pritzker has noted that a 20% hike in the flat tax is an option, along with 15% across the board spending cuts, if voters reject the proposed amendment. At the same time, opponents have contended the amendment would open the state’s income tax to retirement income though Illinois does not tax retirement income and nothing in the amendment changes that law.
While the committee’s  proposal did call for pension reform, it would do so by boosting state contributions rather than cutting benefits. It also proposed establishment of a new, cheaper health insurance program for state workers; rapid consolidation of local governments to save money; and a full review of state spending it believes could save $1 billion.
Committee President Kelly Welsh said the decision to urge a “no” vote was reached after extensive discussions among a 90-person group. The organization will not buy ads, Welsh said.