But Meg Wiehe, deputy executive director of the progressive Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said that is an oversimplification. She said wild speculation in opposition ads about what Illinois might do with the extra money, as well as ads that used the “nose under the tent” metaphor to imply that the income tax hike on the rich was a precursor to other taxes on the middle class, fomented fear and votes against the proposal.
“[The ads were] claiming that if the fair tax got enacted, retirement income would be the next thing to be taxed, which wasn’t really the case,” she said. “The consequence of Illinois is that it will be quite a long time before the state will be able to take up another initiative to fix the unfairness of the flat tax. The state is now going to face drastic budget cuts or tax increases that are going to impact everyone and not just the wealthy in the state.”
In Arizona, by contrast, proponents of the higher taxes on the wealthy did a better job of making the case and connecting the dots on how to get the state back to pre-pandemic levels of education funding, she said.