Ralph Martire

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Ralph Martire

Ralph Martire is Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. In February 2011, he was appointed to serve on the U.S. Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission. Mr. Martire teaches a Master's class on Education Finance and Fiscal Policy for the University of Illinois and Roosevelt University where he is also a distinguished lecturer on public policy. Additionally, he has taught fiscal policy seminars for various universities and the International Fulbright Scholar Program. Mr. Martire has received numerous awards for his work on education policy reform, including the 2007 Champion of Freedom Award, presented by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to individuals whose professional work embodies Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, commitment to equal educational opportunities.

Mr. Martire graduated from Indiana University Phi Beta Kappa, with a B.A. in History and received his JD from the University of Michigan.[1]

Graduated income tax

In 2007 State Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, wanted Illinois to switch to a graduated income tax, meaning high earners owe a larger percentage than those with lower incomes.

"We think this might be the way to truly reform education funding in this state and also provide property tax relief," Frer-ichs said.

It won't be an easy task. The Illinois Constitution specifies that "a tax on or measured by income shall be at a nongraduated rate." Frerichs and state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, are forming a committee to work on changing that provision of the constitution.

"This isn't going to happen with just me and Sen. Raoul; we are looking to build a much larger coalition," Frerichs said.

Getting a constitutional amendment on the ballot requires a three-fifths majority vote in both the House and the Senate or a petition with nearly 280,000 signatures – enough to equal at least 8 percent of the total votes cast in the last election for governor. Once it gets on the ballot, it needs approval from 60 percent of those voting on the question or a majority of the people who voted in that election.

Ralph Martire, executive director for the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, said he strongly supported the idea of graduated income tax.

"It's the appropriate way to impose an income tax if you want to have a system that taxes fairly and responsibly in a capitalist economy," Martire said. "We have a flat tax, which means we leave too much of the economic growth out of our tax structure and we place the greatest burden on low- and middle-income taxpayers."[2]

2011 Debs Dinner

Ralph Matire at Debs Dinner

Chicago Democratic Socialists of America's 53rd Debs Thomas Harrington Dinner was held at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro on Friday the 13th of May, 2011.

Featured speaker was Ralph Martire, the Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. Martire, who began his career as a corporate lawyer. "Mergers and acquisitions," he sighed. But Martire wielded statistics with passion and clarity to reveal the intersection of tax policy, education, class, and racism.[3]