Springfield – Today members of the Illinois House of Representatives adjourned without considering HJRCA 59, the Fair Tax amendment. If passed, the measure would have given voters a chance at the ballot box to choose to allow a Fair Tax in Illinois, which is an income tax system where those who make lower incomes pay a lower rate, and those who make higher incomes pay a higher rate. With the deadline to get the measure on the ballot having come and gone, voters will not get to weigh in on whether they want the option of a Fair Tax to be part of the Illinois revenue system.
The Responsible Budget Coalition releases the following statement regarding inaction on the Fair Tax:
A Fair Tax is a common-sense tool to help fix Illinois’ flawed budget and tax system and find a way out of the chronic annual budget crises. The General Assembly’s failure to consider a Fair Tax is disappointing at a time when income inequality is alarmingly high and it is an irresponsible limitation of revenue options while Illinois is in the eleventh month of an unprecedented budget and revenue crisis that threatens to destroy our service and educational systems. The Governor’s opposition to the Fair Tax, which effectively blocked the measure, is unjustifiable.
A Fair Tax is supported by strong majorities of voters in legislative districts across the state. It would have allowed lawmakers to raise desperately needed revenue to fund vital services for working families by asking the wealthy to pay their fair share.
A Fair Tax is an important tool the state leaders have now abandoned, but fortunately there are an array of revenue options that remain for the Governor and General Assembly to choose from.
In recent weeks, we heard stories that clearly demonstrate the urgency for the Governor and lawmakers to put aside non-budget agendas and pass a budget that chooses revenue over cuts to services that families, communities, and small businesses rely on. In Southern Illinois, children who have been sexually abused are at risk of losing access to counselors. In Central Illinois, two people died of drug overdoses while on a waiting list for treatment. Community colleges in suburban Chicago have laid off staff and Lutheran Social Services was forced to stop providing services to nearly 4,700 seniors, veterans, youth, and families across the state.
The need for a fully funded budget for this year and beyond remains an urgent priority for families, communities, and small businesses. The Governor and lawmakers must put aside non-budget agendas and pass a budget that chooses revenue over cuts to vital services immediately.
The Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC) is a large and diverse coalition of more than 250 organizations concerned about state budget and tax issues. It includes organizations that serve children, families, veterans, seniors and people with disabilities; education groups concerned about early learning, K-12 and higher education; labor unions; faith-based and civic organizations; immigrant and refugee families; and many others.
The RBC is a non-partisan, trusted source of information on state budget and tax policy and a leader in the fight to pass a budget that chooses revenue over cuts to vital services.
The individual organizations that belong to the RBC represent a diverse range of interests but are united by these three common principles:
· Adequate revenue to support state priorities and make smart investments
· No more cuts to vital programs and services
· Fairness in raising revenue
May 4, 2016
Media Contact: Neal Waltmire, firstname.lastname@example.org, 815-353-7655