After years of blocking Illinois voters from taking action on term limits and the independent, nonpartisan drawing of legislative districts maps, the Democrats controlling all three branches of government in Springfield are chirping in unison — “Let the people decide!”.
Unfortunately, they don’t want to “Let the people decide!” on new laws to eliminate the systemic corruption or political gridlock that has caused Illinois’ government bankruptcy.
Instead, they want the people to decide on whether or not to raise income taxes on themselves — and nothing else.
With the backing of the lopsided Democrat majority controlling the Illinois State Senate Executive Committee, Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 (SJRCA 1) was approved April 10 and is now heading for the Senate and House of Representatives for a vote.
SJRCA 1 allows voters to amend the Illinois Constitution to substitute the current flat rate income tax system with a graduated rate income tax system, which will let our state legislators raise taxes on a whim every year if they so choose. I voted NO, and I’ll tell you why.
The Democrats are saying they will only raise income tax rates on the top 3 percent, but that’s not the language that’s in the referendum question they are proposing to ask the voters, and “Let the people decide!”. SJRCA 1 has no restrictions, no limits and no end date.
SJRCA 1 is the equivalent of handing a blank check to the Democrat-controlled state legislature to raise taxes on the rich today, the middle-class tomorrow and the poor next week. And then do it again the following year. Every year.
Illinois government has a lousy history of raising taxes while not cutting spending, then burning through the increased taxes with no improvement in our financial conditions, no improvement of political gridlock and no improvement on redistricting equality.
Illinois raised income taxes in 2011 and 2017, and we are now more in debt than ever.
Illinois voters need to wake up and force the Democrats who want to “Let the people decide!” to propose specific constitutionally protected graduated tax rates, but only if those same Democrats agree to allow the amendment of the Illinois Constitution to require a 10-year term limit on every elected office in Illinois, and require an independent redistricting commission, which will eliminate the partisan gerrymandered jigsaw puzzle that ensures perpetual gridlock in Illinois state government.
I am willing to allow the Democrats to have their dessert in the form of a binding referendum that asks voters if they want to empower the State of Illinois to raise taxes indiscriminately and perpetually because I will fight to defeat that referendum. However, I will only be scooping up the dessert if the Democrats agree to eat their vegetables in the form of binding referendums that establish term limits and eliminate gerrymandering because I will fight to approve these referendums.
I am predicting that J.B. Pritzker, Mike Madigan and the Democrat majorities in Springfield will spend the next few years skipping dinner and loading up on dessert. It’s the rest of us who will suffer the consequences.