Opinion: Illinoisans rejected a progressive tax once. They’d do it again.

By Dennis G. LaComb, Executive Vice President of the Technology & Manufacturing Association

Politicians and manufacturers approach problems very differently.

When machinists are programming machinery and an error message appears, they analyze the issue and develop solutions to move forward. What they don’t do is simply hit the “submit” button over and over, then get frustrated as to why they’re getting the same error message every time.

Illinois politicians seem to prefer the latter approach. As noted in a recent Crain’s article from Greg Hinz, we’re seeing the beginning steps of a revival of the failed progressive tax referendum that Illinois voters opposed resoundingly in 2020.

Let’s not forget nearly 54% of Illinoisans voted “no” on the progressive tax that would have given Springfield politicians permanent authority to raise tax rates and change tax brackets whenever they want more of our hard-earned money. Opposition was not just from Republicans and Independents—even many Democrats who voted for President Joe Biden and other Democrats on the ballot voted no on the misnamed “fair tax.”

The Technology & Manufacturing Association and our members strongly oppose this tax on middle-class working families and their small-business employers. If Springfield politicians attempt to revive this rejected effort, we will join with other pro-business and pro-taxpayer organizations to oppose the tax just as in 2020. Our coalition last time grew to 45 organizations representing more than 500,000 small- and midsize employers and 4 million employees—and we’re confident it would be even larger if we have to do it again.

Or, we could use this energy to work together to develop meaningful solutions to our budget and business climate issues, solutions that don’t raise taxes on working families and job creators. That’s the collaborative path we’d prefer.

Gov. Pritzker and Illinois legislators, the error message was loud and clear in 2020. Let’s work together to �nd a viable solution that works well for us all.

Published in Crain’s Chicago Business on February 10, 2023

Dennis Lacomb is executive vice president of the Technology & Manufacturing Association.