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Illinois House passes progressive tax amendment

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois House voted to pass the progressive income tax amendment which would eliminate the state’s flat income tax. 

The amendment passed with a vote of 73-44.

After a controversial tax increase in July 2017, Illinois residents now pay a flat income tax rate of 4.95 percent.

The new amendment would offer a slight tax reduction to people earning less than $250,000 annually. People earning more than that would see a dramatic income tax increase up to at least 7.75 percent, reaching a cap of 7.95 percent for people earning a million dollars or more per year.

“For years, Illinoisans have been fighting to make our income tax system more fair to middle class families and those striving to get there, and this monumental vote in the General Assembly means that voters will have the right to decide our system for themselves in November 2020,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “Together, we will continue our fight to make sure that 97 percent of Illinoisans will pay the same or less in income taxes and only those making more than $250,000 pay more. I want to especially thank Senate President Cullerton, House Speaker Madigan and the working group of lawmakers who put this constitutional amendment on the ballot.” 

Speaker Mike Madigan said, “Reforming Illinois’ tax system to put middle-class families first by providing those families with tax relief is a major step toward a stronger Illinois, and I commend Governor Pritzker for his leadership. Middle-class families bear too much of the burden under the current tax system, and a Fair Tax will enable us to make the wealthy pay their fair share to balance the budget and invest in critical resources like education and health care – all while providing relief for 97% of taxpayers.”

Rep. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) released a statement, saying: “For somebody making $10,000, you will give them a tax break of $6.67.  That cannot even buy a Jimmy John’s sandwich.  Congratulations.  Way to fight for the middle class! Illinois’ net tax burden is the highest in the United States.  We are bleeding jobs, population, and representation because of this population loss, and Illinois Democrats just decided to change our tax structure to attempt to raise income taxes once again with a bevy of additional taxes to be voted on in the coming week,”

Rep. John Cabello (R-Rockford) responded to the bill’s passage, saying, “Illinois has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. The same Springfield politicians responsible for years of overspending, over taxing and a mountain of debt want a graduated tax for one reason and one reason only, to raise taxes and spend more of your money. This job-killing tax plan would drive more families and jobs out of Illinois. I stand with Stateline area taxpayers against it.”

Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) said, “The graduated tax is a blank check for Democrats to raise income taxes over and over again. Make no mistake – Governor Pritzker’s candid admission that he cannot give any guarantees that there won’t be more changes to the rates means higher taxes on middle-income earners in the not-too-distant future should the graduated tax become law. When Springfield politicians raised our taxes in 2011 and 2017, they made promises they did not keep about why those income tax hikes were needed. Why should we trust them again now? The truth is, we can’t.” 

Rep. Tom Demmer (R- Dixon) said, “This Constitutional Amendment would give a blank check for future tax increases. If approved, lawmakers will no longer have to look at how much money is available when determining if a proposal is affordable. Legislators will be able to determine what new initiatives will pass and then just adjust the rates accordingly. But every dollar this government takes is a dollar taken out of the pocket of an Illinois taxpayer. Every dollar in increased taxes is one less dollar that a family is spending in their community.”

The Fair Tax amendment will be sent to the governor’s desk.

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