SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The political committee funding the fight for Gov. JB Pritzker’s graduated income tax conceded Wednesday morning.
Constitutional amendments need 60% of voters on the question or a simple majority of overall voters to approve a measure. With 98% of Illinois votes counted, Pritzker’s plan only received 45%.
“We are undoubtedly disappointed with this result but are proud of the millions of Illinoisans who cast their ballots in support of tax fairness in this election,” stated Quentin Fulks, Chairman of Vote Yes For Fairness.
“Illinois is in a massive budget crisis due to years of a tax system that has protected millionaires and billionaires at the expense of our working families, a crisis that was only made worse by the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Pritzker’s “Fair Tax” team says Republican lawmakers and billionaires who created the “dysfunction” for the state during the Rauner administration. They also accused them of choosing partisan politics and deceiving the public.
“Now lawmakers must address a multi-billion dollar budget gap without the ability to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share. Fair Tax opponents must answer for whatever comes next,” Fulks stated.
The Coalition Against the Proposed Tax Hike Amendment declared victory late Tuesday night. Spokeswoman Lissa Druss said this would be a win for small business owners, middle-class families and family farmers among others.
“In this election, Illinois voters sent a resounding message that with an $8 billion deficit and two massive tax hikes in the last ten years, we cannot trust Springfield Politicians with another tax hike,” Druss stated.
More than $124 million went into the campaigns for and against the progressive tax plan. Gov. JB Pritzker led donations to the Vote Yes For Fairness Campaign. Billionaire Ken Griffin significantly boosted the group against the proposed constitutional amendment.
Pritzker will likely address the loss during his scheduled press briefing Wednesday afternoon. However, he already hinted at what Illinoisans could expect without his graduated income tax plan. The state will keep the current flat tax rate, but all residents should expect a tax hike to make up lost revenue.
“It benefits the wealthy and it hurts the middle class and those striving to get there,” Pritzker said Tuesday. “You know, there’s no doubt that Illinois would need revenue in addition to obviously looking at cuts in state government as we have.”
This story will be updated.