Members of the government employee union SEIU and a group of Democrat supporters protested an Illinois think tank for opposing efforts to push a hike in the Illinois income tax.
The protests in the state capital were organized by a group calling itself the Community Renewal Society (CRS), a Chicago-based group that counts members of the SEIU and the Illinois Department of Human Services as board members.
The protest was held at the state capital but protesters also moved over to the Springfield offices of the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), a conservative think tank that opposes the progressive income tax proposal.
In a press release, the Community Renewal Society tried to link the IPI with the Koch brothers because the think tank belongs to the State Policy Network organization.
Regardless, the SEIU and its cohorts have been pushing this “fair tax” idea (SJRCA0040) which would eliminate the state’s flat tax rate system and replace it a graduated tax.
The group claims that their “fair tax” would be a tax cut for everyone but “the rich.”
In 2011 the Illinois legislature hiked the state income tax 67 percent in a middle-of-the-night vote. But the law had a sunset provision built in. If the Illinois legislature follows the law as written, next year the state’s income tax rate will fall from 5 percent to 3.75 percent and several years after that will fall further to 3.25 percent. This promised sunset is how many legislators were convinced to vote for this massive tax hike.
However, Democrats have been trying to find a way to put a stop to the sunset provision and hike tax rates for everyone. A recent idea has been the so-called “fair tax” floated by liberals, Democrats and members of the various government employee unions such as the Service Employee International Union (SEIU).
SJRCA0040 does not suggest what those rates would be, but if Illinois follows every other state with a graduated tax the rates will start at around 5 percent or more and go up from there.
Even without the rates being officially set by Democrats pushing for this new tax system, some proposals say that the rates should start at 5 percent (and some want more) for incomes of $5,000 to $100,000 a year. That is already a tax hike on everyone because next year the rates are supposed to fall to 3.75 percent. So, if the Illinois legislature OKs a ballot measure or any resolutions giving taxpayers a graduated tax it will be a tax hike on everyone regardless of income right at the beginning.
Illinois Democrats sold the 67 percent tax hike as a “temporary” measure with a sunset provision. Now that the sunset is coming, they want to renege on that promise and hike taxes on everyone.
In fact, the IPI used the actual tax rates being proposed by State Rep. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), rates that show that the fair tax idea is a tax hike on everyone making over $22,000 annually.
As part of its protest, the Community Renewal Society sent a letter to the IPI invoking Bible passages and demanding that the think tank reverse its opposition of the fair tax proposal.
In response, the IPI noted the “selective misuse of Scripture” contained in the tax hiking group’s letter and asked why the CRS did not ask to sit down for a real dialog instead of protesting outside IPI’s offices.
“Tax policies have outcomes associated with them. One cannot raise or lower taxes in a vacuum. I don’t see anything just about treating one Illinois family differently from another,” IPI replied. “I don’t see anything merciful about driving wealth and jobs out of Illinois. And, with billions in unpaid bills and the nation’s worst unfunded pension liabilities, the likelihood that revenue will be used to aid the poor is pretty remote.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com