Editorial: Vote yes for the ‘fair tax’ amendment

Election day is less than a week away, so it is important to understand what’s on the ballot. Everyone knows about the presidential candidates, but what Illinois voters may not know is there is a new proposed amendment that involves taxes. It has been coined the “fair tax,” and it is an amendment to Section 3, Article IX of the Illinois constitution.

The Northern Star Editorial Board endorses this amendment.

If passed, the new amendment would read “The General Assembly shall provide by law for the rate or rates of any tax on or measured by income imposed by the State,” according to the amendment. “In any such tax imposed upon corporations the highest rate shall not exceed the highest rate imposed on individuals by more than a ratio of [8:5].”

To break it down, this means that there would be a graduated tax system that is based entirely on income.

This new system would largely benefit most Illinois tax payers and is the tax system used among most other states. There are only nine states that have the flat rate system Illinois currently has, according to the Institution of Taxation and Economic Policy website

Currently, all individuals, regardless of income, pay 4.95% income tax. So if a doctor makes $100,000 a year, they will be paying the same rate as a waitress who makes less than $25,000 per year. This seems unfair as the doctor has a larger income, so they should be able to be taxed more if the state wants to raise taxes. 

Illinois needs to have the best interest for its people. Those who make $250,000 or less a year would either see taxes stay the same or see a decrease in their taxes based on the income category they fall into, according to a Oct. 6 Tax Foundation article.

The only people who are affected with an increase in taxes by this tax would be the top 3% of individuals and the top 35% of small businesses, according to a secretary of state pamphlet mailed out to most Illinois residential homes. That means 97% of individuals and 95% of businesses would either see the same taxes or see a decrease.

Largely, this tax would benefit Illinois, however, as voters we have to look at all sides. This does mean that Illinois would be allowed to have no limit on the taxes. And this graduated system is the highest of all the states, according to a Oct. 6 Tax Foundation article.

This just means we need to proceed with caution. In the future, we have to elect officials who do not want to hike up taxes and make sure we make the most informed voting decisions when it comes to Illinois Taxes. 

This is the first step to helping Illinois individuals and businesses have more fair taxes. People should be taxed based on income and it is important to vote yes to this amendment to ensure that happens.