500 Religious Leaders March in Support of Fair Tax, Tell Illinois Policy Institute to Stop Misinformation Campaign

Leaders spoke about importance of Fair Tax for social justice, delivered letter Insisting an end to IPI’s “misinformation campaign” against the Fair Tax

SPRINGFIELD, April 8, 2014 – Hundreds of religious leaders from around the state marched on the offices of the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) in Springfield.  The group called on the organization – funded by the wealthiest corporate special interests in America – to stop their false attacks on a Fair Tax, and to let the citizens of Illinois make the decision for themselves about a Fair Tax on the November ballot.   

"The Illinois Policy Institute is being dishonest when they claim a Fair Tax is anything besides a tax cut for the overwhelming majority of Illinoisans.  The smoke and mirrors about future rates if we drove off the fiscal cliff are designed to confuse and scare voters, all in an effort to protect an unjust status quo," said Rev. Jason Coulter of Ravenswood United Church of Christ. 

Documents exposed in a December news report revealed that the Illinois Policy Institute has been serving as a conduit for the national State Policy Network, a group financed by America’s wealthiest corporate interests, including billionaires David and Charles Koch. The documents revealed funding to IPI from the group as earmarked for the purpose of making a Fair Tax “politically toxic” to Illinois voters.

“We, the citizens of Illinois, should decide tax and budget policy, not lobbyists and lawmakers backed by the wealthiest corporate special interests in America,” said Rev. Coulter.

The Illinois Policy Institute is responsible for many false attacks on the Fair Tax, including claims it would raise taxes on low- and middle-income families—claims which have been thoroughly debunked.  The truth is that a Fair Tax – implemented with a rate structure proposed by the Fair Tax Act’s chief sponsor, Sen. Don Harmon – would cut taxes for 94% of Illinois residents, including everyone making up to $205,000.

Today’s attendees emphasized that tax relief for the overwhelming number of Illinois families and the protection of vital public priorities were both vitally important to the success of their communities.

“I can’t possibly pay any more taxes than I already do, and we won’t stand for any more cuts to my kids’ schools.  Enough is enough!” said Tammy Jordan of Shiloh Baptist Church of Waukegan.  

“As a home healthcare worker, people’s lives depend on my care.  If there are any more cuts to the budget, I’m afraid what will happen to those seniors,” said Monique Cooper of the First Baptist Congregational Church of Chicago.   

Rev. Coulter noted the unfairness of Illinois’ current tax and budget system that requires low and middle income families to pay a tax rate that is two to three times more than that of the very rich, factoring all state and local taxes paid.

“This is backwards.  Our faith calls us to fight for a Fair Tax because we believe in a community where everyone pays their fair share.  Jesus said, ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’”

Contact: Alex Wiesendanger awiesendanger@communityrenewalsociety.org 646-784-1033

Founded in 1882, The Community Renewal Society empowers people to build just communities by working to eradicate racism and poverty. It does so by informing, organizing, training, and encouraging individuals and communities in sustained and strategic efforts to engender systemic change.

Community Renewal works to achieve its vision of a just community where racism and poverty no longer limit people’s full participation in society by working with powerful faith-based organizing and policy programs and by publishing two highly regarded investigative journals on matters of social justice.  Through these pioneering efforts, Community Renewal Society moves civic and religious leaders to take action on issues of racism and poverty.

Community Renewal is at the leading edge of reform on several issues, including education, senior health care, housing, tax policy, and criminal and juvenile justice. CRS is uniquely positioned to identify problems, convene key leadership, engage them in discussions about a variety of pressing issues and, in partnership, develop solutions for change.

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Community Renewal works to achieve its vision of a just community where racism and poverty no longer limit people’s full participation in society by working with powerful faith-based organizing and policy programs and by publishing two highly regarded investigative journals on matters of social justice.  Through these pioneering efforts, Community Renewal Society moves civic and religious leaders to take action on issues of racism and poverty. For more information visit www.communityrenewalsociety.org

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