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So are we.

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, we have an added worry: Will students have enough technology and support to succeed at remote learning?

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

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 of 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.

The funding our schools need

This change is projected to raise an additional $3 billion, which is 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, and the man who wanted to close 125 Chicago public schools, pays the same income tax rate as a PSRP, a school bus driver or other essential workers. The Fair Tax will end this shameful system, and finally make the wealthy pay their fair share to help 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.

These groups are not our friends, nor are they friends of labor. The truth of the matter is, that the Fair Tax is the single best way to improve funding for our students, their families and all Chicago public schools. So vote YES on the amendment, and encourage all of your friends and family to do the same.

In safety and solidarity,
Jesse Sharkey
CTU President

P.S. This week, the New York Times published “Say Yes to Progressive Taxation.” Other out-of-state publications also recognize the need to make the distribution of taxation in our state more fair. Let’s do the right thing and pass the Fair Tax.