(via the Illinois Federation of Teachers)
These arguments are for use when directly challenged by a member, or when all the above points have failed to convince them. We suggest starting with the pro-Fair Tax information from the previous two pages because we see positive results when fairness and investment in communities are at the center of the conversation.
Their point: Voting YES for a Fair Tax means that our taxes can go up at any time.
Ours: Right now, the flat income tax can be raised at any time. It just went up a few years ago under Governor Rauner, if you recall. Changing the income tax to a progressive structure doesn’t give any more ability to the legislature than it already has – it just makes it more fair for the people and small businesses who take home less than $250,000/year and asks those who are lucky enough to make more than that to pay a little more. On top of that, in the 30+ states who have a progressive tax, this doesn’t happen. If anything, taxes are lowered over time because of the amount they bring in by taxing the most wealthy.
Their point: Illinois needs to make cuts first before asking taxpayers for a new tax.
Ours: Illinois has the 5th largest economy in the US and the 6th largest population yet ranks in the bottom third for spending on services per capita because of budget cuts over the last 20 years. We also have the smallest number of state employees per capita in the country. We’ve been cutting, and it hurts our students, universities, healthcare, and public services. A Fair Tax would strengthen the budget by asking the wealthiest 3% of the population – those making over $250,000 – to pay a fairer amount of their income towards making our state work for everyone.
Their point: This tax structure will hurt small businesses.
Ours: Only those businesses making over $250,000 per year will see an increase – that is 5% of Illinois small businesses. The rest will not be affected or will see a tax decrease.
Their point: If we tax the wealthy, they’ll just leave Illinois.
Ours: This is a scare tactic and doesn’t actually happen if you look at the data. States with highly progressive income taxes like New York and California thrive and are home to many of our most wealthy U.S. citizens.
So why do people oppose the Fair Tax?!
Opposition campaigns are run by groups like the Illinois Policy Institute, who are funded by millionaires and billionaires that (1) don’t want higher taxes and (2) want to keep power away from workers like us. Their motivations are to accumulate wealth on the backs of Illinois workers and communities. Our current tax structure favors them, and they don’t want it to change.