• Rick Laib

Vote “No” On The Progressive Tax

I cannot communicate this any clearer: vote “no” on the progressive income tax.

On November 3rd you are going to have the opportunity to change the Illinois Constitution. It will be the very first vote on your ballot. There will be a notice and then an explanation. And then the ballot will read as follows:

For the proposed amendment of Section 3 of Article IX of the Illinois Constitution.



Voting “no” will be voting “no” on changing the Illinois Constitution and thereby keeping the Illinois flat tax. What the question on the ballot asks is if we should change the flat tax. We should not. If enough people vote “yes” the flat tax is gone, and something new can be ushered in.

What will be ushered in is a progressive tax. This has been promised to us. You may have heard it called a “fair tax.” You can call it what you like, but its translation means you will be paying more in taxes in the State of Illinois.

Progressive Tax Explanation

I have tried to explain this elsewhere; you and I currently pay a flat tax; that is to say, you and I are taxed at a flat rate. For example, if I have $100 and you have $1000, we would both be taxed at the same rate or a “flat rate.” For this example we will keep the math easy and say the tax rate is 15%. At 15% I would pay $15 in taxes, and you would pay $150 in taxes.

So far, so good?

Illinois lawmakers are pushing that we move to a progressive tax. Under this tax, as you progressively make more money, you would be taxed progressively more. So in our earlier example under a progressive tax I might be taxed at 15%, but you would be taxed much more. Why would you be taxed more? Only because you make more—that is the only rationale. That is why this is commonly referred to as a “tax on the rich.” The “rich” would pay more in taxes.

“What About The Fair Tax?”

I indicated the progressive tax is also referred to as the “fair tax.” The idea behind this, and I am not making this up, is that under a “fair” tax the rich would pay their “fair” share. This is nothing more than a word trick intended to dupe and sell you. Re-look at the math in our earlier example: under a flat tax people with more DO pay more. Just because everyone is taxed at the same percentage does not mean everyone pays the same amount. Those with higher incomes are already paying more in taxes. The so-called “fair tax” punishes you for earning more.

Needed Rationale

I am still waiting to hear the rationale of the progressive tax. I am happy to have it explained to me. The question that requires answering is this: Why should those with higher income pay more in taxes? Granted, this already happens under the flat tax…so why should we target higher incomes for even more taxes?

We do this because no one thinks it will apply to them. We are happy to make “the rich people” foot the bill because no one thinks they are rich. You may not be rich, but surely you are aware you have more than others, and to those others, you are rich. Why should you pay more?

The Most Persuasive Of Arguments

The argument I am making is that if you vote to change the Illinois Constitution, lawmakers will be able to raise the rates you pay easier than they will now. Sure, they guarantee only to raise taxes on the rich but they only make this guarantee because we have not locked in what “rich” is. “Rich” under this proposal is currently defined as “incomes above $250,000” but that number is not law; it is only a proposal. This can just as easily become $70,000.

Please look at the most persuasive of arguments: Eric Zorn is a columnist with the Chicago Tribune and is in favor of the progressive tax. Please take his comments seriously:

The money to keep the state going will have to come from somewhere, and it will inflict the least pain on society if those who are still doing well shoulder a slightly greater share of the burden than they are now shouldering.

Again, this is from someone who is in favor of the progressive tax. Zorn writes the rich should be taxed more as it would “inflict the least pain on society.” How soon before that becomes you? Illinois lawmakers are unwilling to cut spending and live within a budget. How soon before they determine you are in the “still doing well” category? Why are lawmakers determining how much more to tax you in order to pay for the bills of those that earn less than you?

Watch your lawmakers and look for patterns of fiscal responsibility. Ask business owners what the State is doing to incentivize businesses. This is what they ought to be doing. This, not raising taxes, is what will return us to financial prosperity. Vote “no” on the progressive tax.

Rick Laib is the Republican candidate for the 11th Congressional District in Illinois. He can be reached at

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