Calling all Illinoisans whose incomes are greater than $1 million a year. Republican lawmakers want you to stay in Illinois. An extra tax on personal income after your first $1 million – a 3 percent surcharge, with the proceeds going to education – would be proposed to Illinois voters in 2016 if the House and Senate both pass a resolution debated in the House Thursday. It fell three votes short of passage, but the sponsor, House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), could call it again.
Click here for summary
For higher-income Illinoisans, farmers, and small business owners, State Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) fears the higher tax would be the last straw.
“We ought to be asking them to stay in Illinois, build their future here, create jobs and create wealth for everyone,” Sandack said. “We need to add taxpayers to the roll, not push them out the door.”
While some states have no personal income tax, Illinois' is flat – currently 3.75 percent. “I wonder, besides Texas, where they might go,” said State Rep. Rob Martwick (D-Norridge). “Would you be surprised to know that in Arkansas, their highest tax bracket begins at $35,000 a year, and their rate is 6.9 percent?”
While Madigan afterward blamed the failure on “Rauner Republicans,” he could not even hold his caucus together. There are 71 Democrats, and the resolution needed 71 Yes votes. It got 68.
One of those voting against was State Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago). He argued, “This piecemeal approach is quite perplexing. It's not going to be a comprehensive answer to how it is that we fund education in this state.”
Joining Dunkin on the No side were Reps. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) and Jack D. Franks (D-Marengo),
A Madigan news release after the vote accused Republicans of turning their backs on the public. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown, asked whether that statement applied to Drury, Dunkin, and Franks, responded that he'd rather the focus be on the larger group of Republicans, and on the nearly two-thirds of Illinois voters who endorsed the “millionaires' tax” in a non-binding referendum last November.
HJRCA 26 failed, 68-47. The speaker reserves the right to call it again.