IFB President: ‘Farmers can’t afford another tax hike’

By Kay Shipman

Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. described how Illinois farmers and rural residents will suffer if voters approve a state constitutional amendment in November.

During a virtual press conference Tuesday, Guebert joined three other organization leaders of a statewide coalition against the Progressive Tax Amendment.

“After seven years of a depressed farm economy, we don’t need another tax increase,” Guebert told FarmWeek. “It’s hard enough to keep the bills paid and to be as profitable as possible.”

The coalition includes IFB, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Technology and Manufacturing Association and the National Federation of Independent Business Illinois. In November, Illinois voters will be asked whether they support a state constitutional amendment that would allow changing the flat rate income tax. Currently, the rate is 4.95%.

Amendment opposition signs line the road beside Illinois Farm Bureau Director Mark Reichert’s farm near Auburn in Sangamon County. Reichert hosted one of four simultaneous coalition press conferences. (Photo by Kay Shipman)

Guebert continued that in the future tax brackets and rates could be raised more easily on the middle class and other hard-working people. Many other states have higher rates, starting at income levels as low as $25,000 annually.

“The proponents’ one argument is, ‘We want more dollars to spend,’” Guebert said. “Somebody else would pay the bill ... Farmers and rural communities are doing the best they can in a difficult time. Now is not the time for a tax increase. Illinois farmers can’t afford another tax hike.”

Guebert addressed reporters on the Auburn farm of Illinois Farm Bureau Director Mark Reichert. Todd Maisch, Illinois Chamber of Commerce president, spoke in Chicago; Cindy Neal, leadership council chair for the National Federal of Independent Business, appeared at Washington flower shop; and Steve Rauschenberger, president of Technology and Manufacturing Association, spoke at a Rockford machine company.

While Tuesday’s press conference launched the coalition, Guebert reminded Farm Bureau members their organization has been sharing information and working on this issue for months. Guebert pointed out that he, Vice President Brian Duncan, and IFB Director Dennis Green each wrote columns opposing the amendment in FarmWeek this past spring.

“This is bad news for us, the taxpayers,” Guebert said. “We look forward to working with the members of the coalition on this campaign to Vote No on the Progressive Tax. I’m confident we’ll defeat it.”

This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.