Is your organization committed to Equity? Then it’s time to vote Yes for the Fair Tax.

The pandemic and resulting economic crisis have shown how systems long taken for granted — in our government and in our wider society — have fallen short of supporting and valuing the needs of our communities.

As a leader of a statewide coalition of 800 human service organizations that provide child care, access to housing and food, healthcare and so much more, I have witnessed how the past few months have tested our resilience and left us questioning what the future holds. Many of us are wondering how to move our organizations forward and live out our values in an era when systemic inequity is in the spotlight.

One of the inequitable systems that has long failed us in Illinois is the way state and local governments levy taxes. Illinois has the 8th most regressive tax system in the country with the bottom 20% of earners bearing twice the tax burden of our wealthiest citizens. The excessive burden on lower- and middle-income earners falls unfairly on our clients, our staff and the communities that we serve.

What’s more, the current tax system fails to properly fund education because those at the top don’t pay their share. This results in higher property taxes and funding shortages for other vital services, including many of the programs of our coalition partners. With more than 20 years of under-funding to human services, our organizations face never-ending challenges to cover our costs.

This fall we can take an important step forward by voting yes for the Fair Tax constitutional amendment. If it passes, those who make less than $250,000 a year will get a tax cut or pay the same as they do now. Those fortunate enough to make more than $250,000 will pay a little bit more on income over that threshold, raising about $3 billion a year to invest in important priorities like the services we provide.

As human service leaders, putting our mission into action requires that we do what is best for our clients and communities. Voting yes for the Fair Tax amendment will reduce the economic inequality that is baked in our tax system and put our organizational values into action.

No one policy, ballot measure or election will fix our inequitable system overnight. But to vote against fair tax reform would be to re-commit to the system as it is. And in many cases, it would be a vote against the communities we serve.

As leaders committed to social progress, we have a responsibility to strike a balance between making incremental changes to inequitable systems and having radical imagination to envision the world as it could be. In November, voting Yes for Fair Tax is one concrete and crucially important way to put our commitment to equity into action.

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