As a retired educator, I am very concerned about the financial well-being of pensions in Illinois. The state of Illinois has been using state pensions like a credit card, not just for years but for decades and then they dare to call this robbery a "payment holiday!” I am also very concerned about the amount of debt Illinois carries because of the “borrow and spend mentality” in Springfield. Given all this, I am also very much against the "Progressive Tax" coming up for vote in November. I do not think that the progressive tax is the right approach to solve Illinois' money the government problems for the following two reasons:

1. The way the progressive tax law is written, if the bill passes it will give the Illinois legislators the ability to raise taxes, change brackets and change tax percentages whenever they want. 

Our Illinois government-the government that cannot adopt a balanced budget, cannot curtail spending and has been told by its own Supreme Court that it is a financially managed-failure-wants us to give them absolute control. 

Legislators have the nerve to tell their constituents that they cannot really define the percentages, the brackets, or many other details of how we will be taxed in the future. Illinois citizenry are to "Trust Them!” I think that is what the spider was telling the fly when asking the fly into the spiderweb parlor. 

The state of Illinois has proven over and over again how incompetent they are when it comes to financial management. Illinois once promised that the lottery would solve the funding problems for schools. Illinois told us that the temporary five percent tax would alleviate the backlog of unpaid bills. Just since Governor Pritzker has been in office, Illinois has raised or added some 20 taxes.

Immediately, Governor Pritzker starts wanting a progressive tax so that it would be "fair!” When the temporary tax was passed, legislators had the nerve to introduce 11 bills to increase or create new programs. The 20 or so new taxes amount to about an 11 percent increase for Illinois citizens. I believe that this progressive tax will be like giving our state a debit card with no limits.

Illinois revenues have increased 70 percent over inflation in the last 30 years and yet our legislators want us to believe that Illinois just does not have enough money. Remember, Illinois is a state that had to adopt a constitutional amendment to ensure that legislators understood that road tax money is to be used for roads! Illinois wants to be a progressive state by declaring itself a sanctuary state.

Does anyone ever ask what that costs? Did anyone ask should a state that is broke be taking that on? Free abortions, what is the cost? We do not know as the state is purposefully not keeping records. Again, not even addressing the moral question, financially should we be doing that? I remember the Indiana Governor proclaiming that living next to Illinois was like living next door to the Simpsons.

2. Tax the rich, that is the theme of the new progressive tax law. Governor Pritzker needs to talk with Governor Cuomo of New York to find out what happens when you target the rich for increased taxes. Right now Governor Cuomo has been reaching out to the rich to come back to New York. 

People with an income of over $200,000 are more likely to move than people of lesser incomes. If the pandemic has proved nothing else, it has proven that you do not need to live where you work. Illinois is not an island, nor do you have to go very far to find states that are much more tax and business friendly than Illinois. 

This really came to light when my son from Tennessee came to visit. Tennessee has no state income tax. My son registered his truck online and paid a whopping $36. Illinois families carry the heaviest tax burden of anywhere else in the United States. Moving is a form of voting. When people and businesses have had enough they move to a state or country that is more tax friendly to its citizens. 

There was a company, Hoist Forklift, in Chicago a few years ago that moved to East Chicago, Ind. Their explanation for moving was simply economics. The company proclaimed that they would save $1 million a year just in Workmen's Comp. Indiana offered the forklift company some incentives and along with their tax savings the company increased the number of their employees by 200. 

An example I give about the socialistic concept of equalizing the wealth is Cuba. After the revolution Fidel Castro promised to take from the rich and give to the poor. The rich who had infused the country with cash and funded the casinos, hotels, and restaurants left Cuba. Cuba had no way of supporting those businesses so tourism collapsed. Fidel Castro kept his word as he did equalize the wealth. Everyone in Cuba became equally poor. 

The Exodus from Illinois is accelerating and the progressive tax will just give more people a reason to leave. To put that in perspective, the equivalent population of seven Edwards Counties left Illinois last year! Just think, seven times every man, woman and child in Edwards County left Illinois in one year!

For those of us remaining, all Springfield can come up with is more taxes. As the rich leave, Springfield will look to people, without your vote, with lesser incomes to fill in the tax money gap. The definition of rich will eventually include many who are now considered middle-class.

Right now the Illinois Constitution gives its citizens a right to vote on income taxes. The progressive tax will take that right away from Illinois citizens and hand it over to Illinois legislators. John Adams said, "liberty once lost, is lost forever!” On the November ballot, there are no trick questions, voting "No" means no progressive taxes, voting yes means "Yes" to progressive taxes. I wholeheartedly support a "No Vote!”

Signed,

Stan Struckmeyer

Albion