Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly are vowing to block any effort to establish a progressive income tax. A progressive tax charges higher rates at higher income levels, like the federal income tax, whereas Illinois charges a flat tax of 5 percent on all taxable personal income. But if Illinois were to adopt a progressive tax, its business climate would fall from 31st in the nation to 44th, says Lyman Stone of the Tax Foundation, which studies business taxation. He says the Illinois business tax climate was 17th among the 50 states before the 2011 income tax increase.
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The Republicans assume that a progressive tax would be a tax increase as well, and they do not support that. “The House Republicans will not vote on a progressive income tax. It’ll get zero votes from us,” says State Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove). A progressive tax would require a constitutional amendment. There are various proposals, one of which would levy a tax of 11 percent on income over $1 million.