Illinois lawmakers were hoping to raise the state’s income tax from a flat rate to a graduated rate based on income. Voters said no way. Democrats will have to come up with another plan to tackle the state’s massive deficit.
Democrats want to raise taxes
Democrats love taxes. That’s nothing new. Illinois was the latest state that attempted to raise taxes. The state currently has a flat income tax rate of 4.95% for everyone, regardless of income.
Lawmakers attempted to sell voters a new graduated-tax amendment. The amendment would have raised taxes on wealthier citizens while keeping the rate the same for lower income citizens. Governor J.B. Pritzker even tried to market the new amendment as the “fair tax.”
55% of Illinois voters rejected the Democrat tax plan. Vote totals show that only one county out of 102 counties in the state approved the measure.
That was Cook County, where 62.5% of voters approved raising taxes on higher income citizens. Cook County is a historically Democrat controlled county home to the city of Chicago. Still, this vote wasn’t just about rich vs poor.
In more than a quarter of Illinois’ counties, 80% of voters rejected the change — even though in most cases fewer than 1% of taxpayers in those areas would have seen higher taxes under the rates approved by the state legislature.
Voters don’t trust politicians
Lance Trover is one political activist who’s speaking out about the amendment. He’s part of a group that aired millions of dollars worth of anti-Democrat campaign ads leading up to the election. “After two tax hikes in the last 10 years with Illinois staring down an $8 billion deficit, millions of voters made clear they didn’t trust the Springfield politicians with new taxing powers,” Trover said.
Two out of the last five governors of Illinois were sent to prison for corruption. Voters are growing weary of elected officials in Springfield. Democratic state Rep. Kelly Cassidy from Chicago acknowledged the issue on a recent radio interview. “As I spoke to people, as I made calls, as I talked to people who were campaigning in person, that was the thing that was brought up — even in districts like mine where it’s a pretty liberal district — that the trust issue was so often thrown back at people. Whether it’s generic trust or really specific.
It was shocking.” Widespread corruption and increasing Covid-19 restrictions are even turning off Democrat voters in the state. For now the “fair tax” is dead. Lawmakers in the state will have to figure out another way to balance the budget.