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Local leaders gather to support ‘Fair Tax’ amendment

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CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- Six days remain until the general election and Illinois voters have a chance to push the state into new territory.

Come Tuesday, residents will vote to either implement a graduated income tax or keep the state at a flat tax.

Under the 'fair tax' Illinoisans who make more than $250,000 a year would see an increase in taxes. Those who make below that would see little to no changes on their taxes.

Local leaders gathered at Carbondale City Hall on Wednesday to push the amendment's benefits.

"The 'fair tax' amendment is a way of lowering the state income tax burden for those who earn less than [$250,000]," said Jason Woolard, a business representative of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Woolard claims that 98% of Southern Illinoisans will see no changes to their taxes, and that some could pay less.

"The current tax system unfairly benefits millionaires and billionaires," Woolard said. "This 'fair tax' will make things fair for the working class and people of Southern Illinois."

State Representative Dave Severin says the amendment is another program that the state can't afford. Severin believes Illinois should focus on paying down its debt instead of finding new ways to spend.

"I don't see the need for it. What I see the need is for us to be fiscally conservative and for us to pay our bills," Severin said. "Revenues are not a problem. It's a spending problem."

Some local business owners, like Bonnie Cissell of Lincoln Heritage Winery in Cobden, are in favor of the fair tax because it only affects the most wealthy.

"[It] will only impact those who are making over $250,000. or more, which is approximately 3% of the state's population," Cissell said.

The amendment needs 60% of the vote and would take effect New Year's Day 2021 if passed. Illinois is one of eight states that currently have a flat tax.

Danny Valle

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