By KERRY SMITH
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s top exec told an audience of Edwardsville and Glen Carbon business and government professionals on Friday that he and his board continue to battle Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s progressive income tax proposal, which will appear on the ballot statewide Nov. 3.
Todd Maisch, president and chief executive officer of the Illinois Chamber, told more than 120 in attendance at the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce’s annual membership meeting Thursday that Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 is bad policy.
“We’re definitely opposed to this,” Maisch told the Ed/Glen Chamber capacity audience in the Leclaire Room of N.O. Nelson Thursday noon. “Illinois’ (current) flat income tax is one of the few economic advantages we have. Targeting our advantages doesn’t make sense.”
Pritzker’s proposal, which passed 73-44 in the Illinois House in late May, would allow lawmakers to toss out Illinois’ constitutionally protected flat income tax and institute a progressive – or graduated – income tax rate. According to Maisch (shown), the proposed progressive tax would tax higher amounts of income at higher rates.
“As it now stands, Illinois taxpayers have two constitutional protections,” said Maisch. “One, the state can only levy one tax based on income. Two, the state is capped on the tax rate it can levy on corporations. Both these protections will be eliminated or gutted under the progressive tax amendment.”
Estimated tax revenues of $3.6 billion in year one, the amount projected by progressive tax amendment proponents, would not generate nearly enough dollars to address current Illinois debt shortfalls including $7.5 billion in general fund structural deficits, $6.8 billion of unpaid bills, a billion-dollar increase in pension payments for FY 2020-2021 and $137.3 billion in unfunded state pension liabilities, Maisch said.
“Without spending reform, Illinois will need more – much more – revenue to become fiscally sound,” he added.
In order to pass on Nov. 3, 60 percent approval of the ballot referendum question or more than 50 percent of those casting a ballot overall.