Some state lawmakers are interested in a graduated income tax. This is a tax where people with higher incomes pay a higher rate than those with lower incomes, like federal income tax. It would require a state constitutional amendment, and legislation has been introduced, but State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) is unsure of its prospects. “There is support for it. Whether there is sufficient support to get to a three-fifths majority in the House and a three-fifths majority in the Senate – my considered opinion is that it’s a much tougher lift in the House, and I frankly think that that’s going to be a real challenge to get 71 of the 118 votes in the House on that,” she said.
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Especially since House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) has sworn all 47 Republicans will oppose it. “Know full well that the House Republicans will do everything in their power to oppose a change in our tax structure,” he said. A constitutional amendment requires a 60 percent vote in the House and 60 percent in the Senate, then approval by 60 percent of voters in a referendum. If all 47 Republicans in the House vote no, that leaves the 71 Democrats, the exact number needed to pass the bill, so every Democratic vote would be needed. A graduated income tax wouldn’t necessarily mean a tax increase, but Laurence Msall of the Civic Federation says nobody would go through the trouble of passing the measure if it wouldn’t bring in more revenue for the state. Whether it would pass would depend on what the income categories and tax rates would be, he said.