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Hey, millionaires, Illinois wants 10 percent of your cash

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[April 07, 2014]  By Benjamin Yount

SPRINGFIELD  Anyone who earns at least $1 million in Illinois could soon be paying nearly 10 percent of it to the state.

Under the proposed progressive income tax from state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, anyone making more than $180,000 a year would be taxed at 6.9 percent.

Anyone making more than $1 million would pay an additional 3 percent for the proposed millionaires' tax.

PAY TWICE: Sen. Don Harmon with Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, say top earners in Illinois will pay twice under the progressive tax and the millionaires' tax.

"We've proposed a comprehensive rate structure that works with, or without, a millionaires' (tax)," Harmon said.

Powerful House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Chicago, is backing the millionaire's tax as a way to get more money for schools (and tweak uber-wealthy GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner)

But Kristina Rasmussen, vice president of the Illinois Policy Institute, said the message of the dual taxes is clear: Illinois is discouraging people from earning a decent income.

"Illinois should be focused on getting rid of government-imposed disincentives to work not making them worse," Rasmussen said. "The proposed tax on job creators is a cynical political move that has nothing to do with good public policy."

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Illinois has a long history of taxing behavior it wants to discourage.

Supporters pointed to a likely drop in smoking as proof the state's cigarette taxes work, and they used the same argument about obesity in children when pitching a soda tax earlier this year.

Both the progressive tax and the millionaires' tax are constitutional amendments; voters would have to approve both.

Lawmakers are likely to vote in the next week whether the amendments should be placed on the fall ballot.

[This article courtesy of Illinois Watchdog.]

Contact Benjamin Yount at and find him on Twitter:  @BenYount.

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