A large chunk (though certainly not all) of Illinois' financial problems are due to its tax structure. The state constitution mandates that the state income tax be flat, i.e. that those individuals in higher brackets may not be charged higher rates than those at the bottom. This makes it impossible to raise rates on those who could afford to pay more without also raising them on those who can't.

An amendment to change this has been filed as HJRCA0002 by Reps. Naomi Jakobsson and Linda Chapa LaVia. This would amend the state constitution to allow different tax rates for different income ranges, as the federal income tax and those of most other states' do. The Illinois League of Women Voters refers to this as a GRIT Fair Tax, GRIT meaning Graduated Rate Income Tax.

Passing this would be a multi-step process:
  1. Three-fifths majorities in each house of the legislature (36 Senators and 71 House members, assuming no abstentions) must vote to put it on the ballot.
  2. Once on the ballot, it must be approved by a three-fifths majority of everyone voting on the amendment, or by a simple majority of everyone who voted in the election even counting those who skipped this particular question.
  3. With the amendment passed into law, the legislature would need to create a graduated tax rate plan and pass it through the normal legislative process.

The push for GRIT/Fair Tax in Illinois is supported by organizations including the IL League of Women Voters, Jobs With Justice, and the Center For Tax and Budget Accountability. We need to persuade our representatives to let us vote on it. But even while that's going on, we need to talk to people in our communities about it and counter what the propaganda mills are saying. A lot of misinformation is already being spread and it will increase greatly by the time it actually comes up for a vote.

Below the fold, a number of arguments you're likely to hear against the graduated tax, and why they're disingenuous or just wrong.

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