The Republican and Democratic leaders in the state Senate suspect Illinois hasn’t heard the last of switching to a progressive income tax. The proposal would have required voters to approve a constitutional amendment on the November ballot, but it was never brought up for a vote.
Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) feels it would’ve passed if the rate structure was better understood.“There was wild speculation, misrepresentation, about what people’s views were on that, which kind of distorted the argument about whether there should be a flat tax or not,” Cullerton said.
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Illinois is one of 8 states with a flat income tax which taxes all personal income at the same rate. A progressive tax would be similar to federal taxes, where higher incomes are charged at a higher rate.
The sponsor of the proposal, State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), claimed it would amount to a tax cut for 94 percent of Illinois residents. Republicans claimed it would raise taxes.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) says if there’s going to be tax reform, it won’t happen with the current majority held by Democrats in the legislature.
“I don’t see any major changes in the tax structure unless and until we have a balance in the state,” Radogno said.
Radogno says her concern with a progressive tax is that once the amendment is approved by voters, lawmakers could then raise the tax rates from what was originally proposed.