Minimum wage workers, state lawmakers clash on fair pay, taxes - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Minimum wage workers, state lawmakers clash on fair pay, taxes

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ROCKFORD (WREX) - The battle over raising minimum wage hits our community Thursday. As some workers rally to make more. Not only that, they're pushing to pay less in taxes.

The way things are right now in Illinois citizens pay a flat income tax rate at 5%. Some are asking state lawmakers for a new system through what's called the "Fair Tax Act."

"What that would do is tax different levels of income at different rates." -says supporter and Unitarian Universalist Church Senior Minister Reverend Dr. Matthew Johnson.

Supporters like Johnson believe this will lower the tax burden for 94% of Illinois' working families.

"The Fair Tax Amendment would bring some progressivity to our state so that folks who don't have as much don't pay as much, folks who have more are paying more." -Dr. Johnson says.

If the state were to adopt this structure lawmakers would set the new rates. That brings up concerns for opponents.

"There's no limit on that which means they can raise it to whatever level they want and it's going to be middle class families that get hurt the most." -says 35th District State Senator Dave Syverson.

Another issue getting support from some area workers increasing minimum wage to more than $10 an hour. Right now it's $8.25. Senator Syverson is against this idea.

"I wish they would focus on teaching people skills where they can go into manufacturing or other business options or healthcare where they can be earning wages well over 10 dollars."

But, one community leader thinks legislators should raise wages.

"Raising the minimum wage where it needs to be, giving people an opportunity that have multiple jobs, giving them that opportunity to have an increase to a fair wage, I think that we're going to see a lot of people spending money and doing things they need to do to take care of their families." -says community activist Robert King.

The possible Fair Tax Act is a time sensitive issue. Supporters say the state's House and Senate have to vote on the resolution by May 1st to get the item on the November ballot. Then it's up to citizens to decide.

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