Several years ago, faced with a fiscal crisis, Illinois enacted a “temporary” income tax increase. That income tax increase will expire (“sunset”) on December 31, 2014 unless the Illinois legislature passes and the Governor signs, legislation to extend it. If the tax increase is not extended (or some other substantial source of revenue identified) Illinois will be facing a $4 to $5 billion hole in its budget. While there is certainly some waste in the state’s budget, it is not possible to identify $4-5 billion in cuts which will not result in dramatic reductions in mental health services and all other human services as well as in state funding for schools and other vital government programs.
2014 is an election year for the Governor, most of the Illinois Senate seats and all of the seats in the Illinois House. Mental health advocates are urged to communicate to all legislators and all legislative candidates in the upcoming primary our support for legislation extending the current state income tax rates.
One of the problems with the Illinois income tax is that the Illinois Constitution prohibits progressive taxation of any kind. Thus, millionaires pay the same income tax rate as those making very minimal amounts. This makes it difficult to raise revenue or even maintain our current tax rates without harming some of our most vulnerable citizens. The Mental Health Summit supports efforts to place on the Fall Election Ballot an amendment to the Illinois Constitution which would permit the legislature to enact a progressive tax system. Mental health advocates are urged to communicate to all candidates their support for placing this amendment on the Fall ballot so that all voters can consider this important issue. Resolutions which would accomplish are pending in both the Senate and the House. Please urge all Senate candidates to support Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 40 (Harmon). Please urge all House candidates to support House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 33 (Jakobsson).