Whether you think a tax on millionaires is a good idea may depend on how many millionaires you know. “I don't have too many folks down there (where I live, southern Illinois) making $1 million,” said State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), chairman of the House Revenue and Finance Committee. “We're talking about employment and putting people to work. We've got to educate our kids. I've got my 13-year-old son here today, and he's worth as much as a kid in the rest of the state.”
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The proposal, fronted by House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), would add a three percent surcharge to all of one's income after the first million. The money would be distributed to Illinois school districts at a rate of approximately $550 per student. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the committee on a party-line vote, but another one – setting up a graduated tax but now lacking a rate structure on paper – did not. Some Democrats voting against it believed it simply needed more work, while another would rather see Illinois stay with a flat tax with fewer exemptions – and have the federal government follow.
A progressive tax amendment is alive in the Senate. As representatives voted down the proposal in committee, hundreds of demonstrators were steps away, chanting for a graduated tax.
HJRCA 33 (progressive tax) failed to pass the House Revenue and Finance Committee.
HJRCA 51 (millionaires tax) has passed the House Revenue and Finance Committee.