Suburban Democrat to
oppose progressive tax
Written By: Greg Bishop, INN News
April 21, 2016
Less than a week after Democrats proposed
replacing Illinois’ flat income tax with a graduated tax system, the
measure may already be on its way to defeat.
State Rep. Jack Franks told the Illinois Radio Network Thursday that he opposes
the progressive tax proposal, which sponsors say would generate $1.9 billion.
“I’m not supportive of that,” said Franks. The longtime lawmaker represents
McHenry County in northern Illinois – a heavily Republican district.
There are 71 Democrats in the Illinois House, the exact number of votes needed
to put a constitutional amendment before voters that would allow the tax change.
Seventy-one also is the number of votes needed to survive a veto by Gov. Bruce
Rauner of proposed tax rates for a graduated tax system.
The governor opposes this tax change, and through a spokesperson has called it
“the straw that breaks the Illinois economy’s back.” Republicans opposed a
similar attempt to change the state’s tax structure in 2014 and have signaled
their opposition to this measure, too.
Without Franks’ vote or a Republican breaking ranks, the measure will fall one
vote shy of passage.
Steve Brown, a spokesman for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, said he
had no comment on Franks’ statement.
Illinois currently levies a flat income tax of 3.75 percent. The flat tax system
is written into the state’s constitution.
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Moving to a graduated tax system requires voter approval of a
constitutional amendment to change the way Illinoisans calculate
their income taxes. The constitutional amendment under consideration
by lawmakers does not include proposed rates, so separate
legislation would be required to set the tax rates if the amendment
Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang is sponsor of the current
graduated tax proposal. Under Lang’s proposal, Illinoisans with
$100,000 or less in taxable income would be taxed at 3.5 percent.
Rates would increase incrementally as taxable income increases. The
highest rate in Lang’s proposal is 9.75 percent on taxable income
above $1 million.
Proponents of the graduated income tax have said this system would
make it easier to generate revenue for the state.
“Nimbleness in tax policy is critical,” state Sen. Don Harmon said
on a press call about the proposal earlier in the week. “With the
current flat tax requirement in our constitution, we have no
nimbleness. We can’t raise rates on millionaires or people who make
$60 million a year without also raising rates on minimum wage
workers and middle-class families.”
Harmon is backing the measure in the Illinois Senate.
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