SPRINGFIELD – The Board of Directors of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) has voted unanimously to oppose Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s graduated income tax proposal. The following statement can be attributed to IRMA President and CEO Rob Karr:
“Throughout its history, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) has successfully worked cooperatively with policymakers across ideological and regional divides to advance the needs of our members and the state. As such, IRMA has never been, and will never be, easily pigeonholed as a partisan organization.
We recognize Illinois’ fiscal challenges are great, which is why we were proud to lead the effort and work closely with members of the Assembly to require online retailers to collect sales tax, thereby leveling the playing field with brick-and-mortar retailers. This action alone will generate more than $300 million a year for the state, an amount that is growing 10 to 15 percent annually. Additionally, IRMA is also the only statewide business association to have previously supported an income tax increase—twice.
However, the challenges facing the retail sector before the pandemic have only grown exponentially worse as the virus persists. As the largest tax generator for local governments and the second largest for the state – in addition to employing 20 percent of the state’s workforce pre-pandemic — as goes the retail sector, so goes our state and local governments. Raising taxes on retailers will only prolong the recovery of Illinois’s essential retail sector. If our state is to successfully recover from this pandemic, it will require not just growth from businesses but also fiscal discipline on the part of elected officials. Given Illinois’ history of financial mismanagement, it is difficult to believe sending more money to Springfield without imposing any additional checks and balances will provide the solution we need.
As such, IRMA’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to oppose the proposed constitutional amendment seeking to impose a graduated income tax.”