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Three African American Spiritual Leaders on Why They Support the Graduated Income Tax Amendment


By Bishop Simon Gordon, Reverend Marrice Coverson and Pastor Marvin Hightower

We can’t say enough about how important it is for our community members across all of Illinois to vote in this upcoming election and to vote yes for the Graduated Income Tax Ballot Amendment.

The Graduated Income Tax Ballot Amendment will make the state’s tax structure more equitable. Currently, everyone in Illinois pays the same income tax regardless of how much they earn. But if the Graduated Income Tax Ballot Amendment passes, higher-income Illinoisans will pay higher taxes, and middle and lower-income Illinoisans will pay lower taxes.

Only those residents who earn more than $250,000 a year will pay more if the Ballot Amendment passes. Everyone else – 97% of all Illinoisans – will see a tax cut. For most of us, this will mean more money in our pockets for groceries, medicine, utility bills, school books, and other vital expenses. That is just one of the reasons why we must get out and vote yes for this Ballot Amendment.  

Our vote in support of this Amendment is also essential to making sure Illinois has the revenue it needs to invest in our communities. If it passes, the Graduated Income Tax Ballot Amendment could help the state raise around $3 billion a year to fund essential services. Our children and grandchildren need this revenue to attend better schools. Our parents and grandparents need this revenue so they can have access to health care and other services in their own homes. Our small business entrepreneurs need this revenue to create economic opportunities for themselves, their families, and others in our neighborhoods.

As we continue to grapple with the health and financial toll of the COVID pandemic, revenue to make these investments has become even more critical for our community.

Right now, African Americans and other people of color are fleeing Illinois because of the state’s disinvestment, high taxes, and lack of economic opportunity.

AARP supports the Graduated Income Tax Ballot Amendment to change that - and give more of our families and friends the chance to thrive in their neighborhoods. That’s also why we will be voting in this upcoming election and why we will be voting yes for the Graduated Income Tax Ballot Amendment.

This year, perhaps more than ever, our community’s vote will make a big difference. We urge you all to vote, and to vote yes for the Graduated Income Tax Ballot Amendment – for a better future for our families and yours right here in Illinois.   

Bishop Simon Gordon is the Senior Pastor at Triedstone Church located on the south side of Chicago. He served as an advisor on the White House Faith-Based Council during the first term of President Barack Obama. Currently, he serves as an active Board Member of Prevention Partnership, Inc. as the Faith Based Chair for HIV Awareness and Substance Abuse Prevention. 

Reverend Marrice Coverson is the Pastor of the Church of the Spirit in Chicago – the first female and African American to hold that position. Reverend Coverson is also the first African American since 1924 to hold a Trustee position on the Board of Directors of National Spiritualist Association (NSAC) of Church’s Board of Directors. 

Pastor Marvin Hightower is the Senior Pastor at Liberty Church of Peoria and serves as the President of the Peoria NAACP. He also serves on the boards of Upgrade Service Corp. and the Central Illinois Interfaith Alliance, and as a member of The Peoria Area Diversity Employment Action Team (PADEAT) and the Executive Committee for Alignment Peoria.

Paid for by Yes to a Financially Responsible Illinois

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