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Progressive Income Tax Proposal Dies in State Senate

Hundreds who rallied outside State Capitol in support of change to income tax leave disappointed
SPRINGFIELD -- Significant developments at the State Capitol mean voters in November will likely get to decide on whether to impose term limits on elected state officials, but will not get to decide on whether to amend the Constitution to allow for a progressive income tax.

The progressive income tax proposal -- supporters call it a 'fair tax' -- would have changed Illinois' income tax structure from a flax tax to one where those making less that $12,000 per year pay a lower rate (2.9%), those making more than $180,000 per year would pay a higher rate (6.9%), and those in between would pay 4.9%.  The current flat income tax rate for all brackets is 5.0%, although the poor get earned income tax credits which lower their rate.  Illinois' income tax will reduce to 3.75% at the end of the year under current law.

The legislature needed to pass the plan by Sunday to get it on the November ballot, but the Senate adjourned without taking a vote on the measure, killing it for the year.  Republicans and some Democrats opposed the proposal because it represented an overall tax increase on citizens.

Progressive income tax support organization 'A Better Illinois' campaign director Kristen Crowell said in a statement, "Our statewide grassroots campaign, including more than 250,000 petition signatures and the support of more than 750 small businesses, faith leaders, labor and education groups, and civic and community organizations from every corner of the state brought us closer to implementing a Fair Tax in Illinois than ever before."  She promised to raise the issue again during the Legislature's veto session after the November election.

It appears term limits, however, will appear on the November ballot unless it is successfully challenged in court.  Republican nominee for Governor Bruce Rauner will hold a news conference Wednesday to announce he has obtained enough signatures to allow voters to decide whether to change the state Constitution in November to mandate term limits for elected state officials.  A similar initiative, ironically pushed by Rauner's opponent, incumbent Governor Pat Quinn, was overturned by the courts.  Rauner's term limit proposal contains different language he believes will withstand a court challenge.
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