As the Senior Pastor of Liberty Church of Peoria and the President of the Peoria Chapter of the NAACP, I view public policy through the lens of my faith and its teachings. One of the central tenets of all religions – whether it be Christian, Jewish, or Muslim — is that the resources of our society should be directed to those who are most in need.
It’s the responsibility of our government and its leaders to implement policies that reflect these values to help all of our families and allocate resources to those who need it most. Unfortunately, too often this does not occur, and it’s incumbent upon those of us who see this injustice to take action to change it.
That is the case today with Illinois’ current tax system, and why I’m fighting to pass the Fair Tax this fall. Our current tax system is broken and fundamentally unfair, failing to uphold the values I live by as a faith leader by placing an undue burden on the lower and middle-income families in our state, including essential workers like our nurses and our grocery store clerks who have kept us safe during this pandemic.
It’s not fair that our working families, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet during these difficult times, are forced to pay the same rate as the millionaires and billionaires who have even see their bottom lines increase in recent months. As a result, these middle and lower-income Illinoisans pay nearly double the percentage of their income in taxes compared to the wealthiest 1% in our state.
That just isn’t right. To create an Illinois where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, we must lift the burden off of our working families and finally ask the wealthy to pay their share.
And as the President of the Peoria Chapter of the NAACP, I see the inequities people of color in our community face every day, and how our current tax system adds yet another barrier to equality. In our state, people of color are more likely to be working in low-income jobs, and are more likely to be working on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis. Yet, they’re forced to pay the same tax rate as the wealthiest Illinoisans, adding additional pain at a time when they need help the most.
The Fair Tax will help set things right, not only creating a tax system that is fair and representative of the values we hold dear, but will also generate billions of dollars in new revenue each year that can go towards funding the critical social services our families rely on.
We can make that happen by only increasing raising taxes on those making over $250,000 a year, while ensuring taxes go down or stay the same for at least 97% of Illinoisans. As my faith tells me that we should always prioritize policies that help those less fortunate, it’s clear the Fair Tax is the next step toward making Illinois the best place it can be.
In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "The time is always right to do what is right." Now more than ever, it’s time to pass the Fair Tax.
Pastor Marvin Hightower is the President of the Peoria Chapter of the NAACP and the Senior Pastor of the Liberty Church of Peoria.
via Journal Star
July 29, 2020 at 03:00PM