* Press release…
Vote Yes For Fairness Chairman Quentin Fulks released the following statement:
“We are undoubtedly disappointed with this result but are proud of the millions of Illinoisans who cast their ballots in support of tax fairness in this election.
“Illinois is in a massive budget crisis due to years of a tax system that has protected millionaires and billionaires at the expense of our working families, a crisis that was only made worse by the Coronavirus pandemic. Republican legislators and their billionaire allies who brought us the dysfunction and pain of the Rauner years continue to stand in the way of common sense solutions, choosing instead to play partisan games and deceive the working families of our state. Now lawmakers must address a multi-billion dollar budget gap without the ability to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share. Fair Tax opponents must answer for whatever comes next.”
Incomplete election results showed 55% of Illinoisans voting against the amendment, and 45% voting in favor with 97.6% of precincts reporting. State election officials said Tuesday there could be as many as 400,000 outstanding mail-in ballots.
The amendment needed a “yes” vote from a majority of all people voting in Tuesday’s election or 60% of people who specifically voted on the amendment.
…Adding… Hannah Meisel from early this morning…
Pritzker this week warned that he and the Democratic supermajorities that control the legislature would be forced to consider raising taxes across the board to deal with Illinois’ significant structural budget deficit, or brace for significant budget cuts.
“The cuts, though, just to be clear: 15% cuts in public safety dollars, education dollars, in the dollars necessary for human services exactly at a moment when people need these things most,” Pritzker said hours before polls closed Tuesday.
Both major budget cuts or an income tax hike, however, are extremely difficult and politically risky. Deep cuts to some areas like social services would be impossible due to long-standing consent decrees and court orders, and much of the state’s $41 billion budget is taken up by legally obligated payments like school and Medicaid funding, pension contributions and debt service — aka the interest on loans Illinois has taken out over the years.
The libertarian-leaning Illinois Policy Institute on Wednesday, which had a hand in organizing thousands of Illinoisans online to mobilize against the graduated tax since early last year, used its election night statement declaring victory to also point in the direction of a constitutional amendment to address Illinois’ ballooning unpaid pension obligations.
After the Illinois Supreme Court in 2015 threw out a bipartisan 2013 attempt to change Illinois’ public employee pension systems to save the state billions over time, conservatives have turned their attention toward moving public support for getting rid of the pension protection clause in Illinois’ 1970 constitution — the same constitution graduated income tax proponents said was standing in the way of fiscal stability for Illinois.