Rallying the support of its 1.7 million members and all older adults across the state, AARP Illinois on Wednesday launched a major campaign to Vote Yes on the Graduated Income Tax Amendment, calling the shift a commonsense solution to address the budget crisis without taxing retirement income.
“Illinois needs a plan to get out of the budget mess it has created, without shifting the burden to our older and middle-class residents,” said AARP Illinois State Director Bob Gallo. “The Graduated Income Tax Amendment does not allow the state to tax retirement income, and it does not make it easier to tax retirement income in the future.”
Beginning Wednesday, Illinois voters will see this messaging by way of a statewide advertising campaign, paid for through a Ballot Initiative Committee formed by AARP Illinois last fall. The Ballot Initiative Committee operates under the name Yes to a Financially Responsible Illinois.
Through a combination of digital, online, radio, print ads and virtual volunteer engagement AARP Illinois hopes to educate Illinois voters that a Graduated Income Tax:
- Is a step in the right direction: Illinois needs a plan to get out of the budget mess it has created, without shifting the burden to our older and middle-class residents. Voting YES on the graduated income tax on the 2020 ballot could help the state raise around $3 billion a year to deal with the budget crisis and ensure funding of essential services that older residents rely on.
- Protects older Illinoisans: The Graduated Income Tax Amendment does not allow the state to tax retirement income, and it does not make it easier to tax retirement income in the future. However, if Illinois doesn’t find a way to fix the budget crisis, state lawmakers may be forced to consider adding a tax to retirement income or more drastic spending cuts that will especially hurt those 50+ and their families.
- Asks only the wealthiest to pay more: It’s wrong that billionaires pay the same tax rate as essential workers like nurses, first responders, grocery store clerks, and other types of workers. Only those who can afford it – the wealthiest 3 percent of households – will pay more under the graduated income tax. Those making less than $250,000 will see no increase in their state income taxes, and some will see a small decrease.
The non-profit, non-partisan organization also launched an e-blast this week to its Illinois members, asking them to fill out “Commit to Vote Yes” cards. Statewide mailers and telephone town halls on the Graduated Income Tax are also planned for the next several months.