Let’s make the millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share to fund the schools our students and families deserve

Every August, CPS educators, parents and students hold their breath waiting to see which teachers and staff will be laid off and what desperately needed services and programs will go unfunded. This year, they have an added worry. Will students have enough technology and support to succeed at remote learning?

If you’re tired of worrying about CPS funding cuts and threats of teacher, PSRP and clinician layoffs, there is a way to fight back. Vote YES on the Fair Tax Amendment on the November ballot.

Flat Tax Rare and Unfair

Illinois is one of a handful of states with a flat income tax rate, which means millionaires and billionaires pay the same tax rate as hourly workers. Under this fundamentally unfair system, the top 1 percent of Illinoisans pay just 7 percent of their income in state and local taxes, while middle and low-income workers pay nearly double, 13 percent.

If approved in November, the Fair Tax Amendment would change all that by rewriting the disastrous clause in the Illinois Constitution that requires a flat rate tax. The new Fair Tax, also known as a progressive income tax, would apply only to those making more than $250,000 a year–or just 3 percent of Illinois’ population. Everyone else would see no change in their state income taxes or receive a tax cut.

And despite a right-wing misinformation effort, RETIREMENT INCOME WILL NOT BE TAXED under this proposal.

Billions More for Our Needs

This change is projected to raise an additional $3 billion, money the state desperately needs to fund education, provide vital public services, and stabilize funding for retirement security.

“It makes absolutely no sense that Ken Griffin, the richest man in Illinois, pays the same income tax rate as a PSRP, a school bus driver, or other essential workers,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said. “The Fair Tax will end this shameful system and, finally, make the wealthy pay their fair share to fund our schools and the critical services our families rely on.”

Powerful Enemies

While the amendment may seem like a no-brainer, powerful right-wing forces like the Illinois Policy Institute and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce are mobilizing to defeat it. Their goal is to mislead and confuse enough voters so the measure doesn’t get the 60 percent it needs to pass, allowing the state’s wealthy individuals to continue enriching themselves at the expense of Illinois families.

Anticipating concerns about in-person voting during a pandemic, the Union supported a new law in the spring that dramatically expanded voting by mail. Members in Chicago can request a mail-in ballot from the Chicago Board of Elections and members outside of Chicago, but in Cook County, can apply to vote by mail here “The Fair Tax is the single best way to improve funding for our students, their families and all Chicago Public Schools,” Sharkey said. “Vote YES on the amendment in November and encourage all your friends and family to do the same.”

Kurt Hilgendorf is the CTU Policy Director.