Illinois voters are being advised by our Governor and his allies to vote for the “Fair Tax.” They say doing so will cure Illinois financial woes and it might with higher tax rates on enough taxpayers and businesses.

A “yes” vote supports repealing the state’s constitutional requirement that the state personal income tax be a flat rate and instead allows the state to enact legislation for a graduated income tax.

A “no” vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thus continuing to require that the state personal income tax be a flat rate and prohibit a graduated income tax.

Please note that a yes vote opens the door for tax increases in the future as desired by the politicians who doubled our state gas tax and increased fees already. The same honorable politicians who “temporarily” raised our income tax rate from 3% to the current 4.95%. Some will argue that taxes can be raised now but only on all voters. The proposed amendment will let our politicians raise taxes on groups at a time which is politically easier.

We are told 97% of Illinois taxpayers would pay no additional tax or would get a refund under this proposal. Let us look at that money so many will receive.

Under tax rates proposed by the General Assembly, the tax rate would drop to 4.75% for the first $10,000 of income for single and joint filers. Income between $10,000 and $100,000 would be taxed at 4.9%, and the rate would remain at 4.95% for income between $100,000 and $250,000. From there, single filers would be 7.75% for income between $250,000 and $350,000, and 7.85% for income between $350,000 and $750,000. Joint filers would be taxed at 7.75% on income between $250,000 and $500,000, and 7.85% on income between $500,000 and $1 million. After that, all income for single filers that make over $750,000 or joint filers that make over $1 million annually will be taxed at 7.99%. These rates and brackets are proposed starting points but not guaranteed. Future years could see more brackets, less dollars at lower rates and bracket rate increases.

OK, so what is my reduction in taxes? For the first $10,000 of taxable income – $20

From $10,001 up to $100,000, a maximum of $45. But that is only $65 all together, and that assumes you are maxing out. A little over $1 per week. Now we have defined truthful deception. As John Wayne once said “Don’t pee on my back and tell me it’s raining.”

Plus, bear in mind this change would immediately raise taxes by an estimated $3.5 billion. But the Governor is wanting to spend a new $10 billion and no one is making promises about future rate hikes or even these proposed rates.

Finally, let us look at the billionaires who we are told are spending millions to defeat this proposal. According to Forbes 500 of billionaires, Illinois has 18. Six have the last name of Pritzker. Here are the Illinois billionaires on the list, including members of the Pritzker family:

Ken Griffin, 51, $12.7 billion (hedge funds) Opposes the amendment and has donated $20 million to defeat it.

Sam Zell, 78, $5.5 billion (real estate, private equity)

Thomas Pritzker, 69, $4 billion (hotels, investments)

Neil Bluhm, 81, $3.9 billion (real estate)

Joe Mansueto, 63, $3.9 billion (investment research)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, 54, $3.4 billion (hotels, investments) In favor of the amendment and has donated $56.5 million to promote it.

Patrick Ryan, 82, $3.3 billion (insurance)

Mark Walter, 59, $3.3 billion (insurance)

Ty Warner, 75, $2.9 billion, (real estate, plush toys)

Eric Lefkofsky, 50, $2.8 billion (Groupon)

Penny Pritzker, 60, $2.8 billion (hotels, investments)

Eric Lefkofsky, Glencoe Industry: Groupon Net worth: $2.5 billion

Nicholas Pritzker, Industry: hotels, investments. Net worth: $2 billion

Jennifer Pritzker, Industry: hotels, investments. Net worth: $1.9 billion

Jerry Reinsdorf, Industry: sports teams. Net worth: $1.6 billion

Michael Krasny, Industry: retail Net worth: $1.4 billion

Steven Sarowitz, Industry: payroll software. Net worth: $1.3 billion

Joseph Grendys, 57, $2.5 billion. (poultry processing)

Supporting the change is the political PAC “Vote Yes for Fairness” and their allied committees who have raised $58.97 million through September 18, 2020. Governor Pritzker has donated $56.5 million of that money, leaving all other donations being $2.47 million.

Opposing the change to the constitution are Two PACs — “Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike” and “Say No to More Taxes” — who have raised funds to oppose the ballot measure. Together, the committees received $21.65 million through September 18, 2020. Kenneth Griffin, CEO of the investment firm Citadel, contributed $20 million to the “Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike.”

Any politician or candidate who is “selling” fair tax either knows the truth about the “fair tax,” is clueless or stands to personally benefit from increased taxes on taxpayers. Whichever one of the three makes them unqualified to being a part of a real solution to the problems facing Illinois.

A joke I once heard said that you can tell when a politician is lying when their lips begin moving. Unfortunately, it is too often true. Truthful deception.

Don Debolt, a Certified Public Accountant, lives in Stewardson

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