SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) voted today in favor of a constitutional amendment that would allow Illinois to implement a fair tax.

The Illinois Constitution currently prohibits a fair tax that would tax lower incomes at lower rates and higher incomes at higher rates. The amendment, for which Martinez is a chief cosponsor, would remove that language, provided voters approve it in 2020.

“It makes no sense that someone working multiple jobs just to get by should pay the same tax rate as a millionaire or a billionaire,” Martinez said. “We need to update our tax structure to protect middle and working class families.”

Illinois has been named one of the most “regressive” tax states in the country, meaning lower income Illinoisans face a greater tax burden than those making the most.

If the amendment also passes the Illinois House with a three-fifths majority, it will be placed on the ballot in 2020. Then, if 60 percent of voters approve it, the Constitution will be amended.

Martinez also voted in favor of legislation sponsored by Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) that sets rates for a fair tax, providing the constitutional amendment is approved.

Under Hutchinson’s plan, contained in Senate Bill 687, 97 percent of taxpayers would see either no change or a decrease in their tax rate. Only the top 3 percent of earners would pay more.

Both Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 and Senate Bill 687 passed the Senate today and head to the House for consideration.


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