Latest posts by Editor (see all)
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By Blake Sercye, Contributor
You’ll hear a lot of people saying the Illinois budget that recently passed in the Senate contains a “32% personal income tax increase.” That statement is misleading. The current personal income tax rate is 3.75% and under the new bill the rate would rise to 4.9% or 4.95% (I’ve seen both numbers in reports). The bill also has increased the scope of the Earned Income Tax Credit so that those with the least are protected as much as possible. (Worth noting is that this increase is actually less, albeit slightly, than the increase to 5% that sunset a couple of years ago.)
I don’t think the real question should be the percentage, but instead whether legislators and the governor will have the courage to apply new revenue to what it should actually go towards: education, mental health services, job creation, crime prevention (which I think is part of job creation), pension funding, etc.
Oh and let’s be clear, the bill isn’t perfect. A better bill would:
– graduate the state income tax like the federal system (those who make more should pay incrementally more – this would require a change to the IL Constitution); and
– dedicate funds to issues (like those above) so legislators and the executive can’t continue to underfund the services our communities need.
But we can’t let the good be the enemy of the perfect…
Blake Sercye is a resident of Chicago’s West Side. He is an activist and advocate for social change and justice. Sercye holds degrees from Princeton and University of Chicago Law School. He is a practicing attorney.