Home Illinois News IL Senate Dems move forward on graduated tax hike amendment

IL Senate Dems move forward on graduated tax hike amendment


SPRINGFIELD – Along party lines, the Illinois Senate voted this week to take the next step towards moving away from the state's flat tax towards a tax rate that increases as income grows. 

There's really been little discussion about why House Speaker Mike Madigan believes the system should change when he led the state's constitutional convention in 1970 that confirmed the flat tax. 

But, his spokesman says, Madigan will allow SJRCA 1 – the new Democrat Governor JB Pritzker's top priority – before the Illinois House "as events warrant." With a super majority of Democrats in the Illinois House, it is fairly certain Democrats can set the idea before Illinois voters in the 2020 General Election with no help from Republican House members.

Tax hike opponents, however, are organizing opposition to the plan. There's too little information on where the Dems plan to take this effort – and how much it will end up costing all Illinois taxpayers.

"There is absolutely no guarantee that these rates will not be modified and lowered many times to give the state more money to spend," said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch.

"The rates have already been increased in the few weeks since they were initially proposed by the governor's office. We believe rates will continue to inch up, and thresholds will continue to inch down, because there simply is not enough money in these proposed brackets to fix our financial problems and keep spending. This attempt to tax Illinois out of our fiscal crisis will not be successful."

One statewide manufacturing group expressed opposition, as well. 

“The new tax rates proposed by Senate Democrats are higher than originally promised by Gov. JB Pritzker and apply to thousands of additional Illinois families and businesses,” said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.

“This vote is yet another sign that Illinois politicians are more concerned with increased spending rather than meaningful solutions to curtail costs, address growing property taxes, tackle ballooning pension debt and adopt reforms that make it easier for businesses to create jobs. If enacted, Illinois will have the dubious distinction of having the highest sales tax rate in the nation, the second highest property taxes, and the third highest income tax rate.”

The Illinois Republican Party chimed in … saying it's all about giving the Democrats a blank check to raise taxes.

"Today's vote from Senate Democrats empowers J.B. Pritzker, Mike Madigan, and the Democrats in power to raise taxes and spend more instead of passing the economic reforms our state desperately needs," IL GOP Chairman Tim Schneider said in a statement.

"Giving politicians like Pritzker and Madigan a blank check to raise taxes will only make our state's problems worse. Higher taxes, more borrowing, and increased spending – that is all Illinois Democrats have to offer, and taxpayers can’t afford it. They refuse to change, and we will make sure voters hold them accountable for it."

House Republicans used the bill's passage to their chamber as an opportunity to poke Pritzker's reported investigation for allegedly manipulating the property tax assessment of the mansion next door to lower the Pritzkers' property tax bill. 

“Governor Pritzker is touting his graduated income tax proposal as a ‘fair tax,’” said State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville). “I would suggest, in light of the ongoing federal investigation into his own tax practices, that JB Pritzker does not know the meaning of the word ‘fair.’”
Wehrli, who was joined at the Capitol press conference by State Representatives Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis), Margo McDermed (R-Mokena), Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) and Mark Batinick (R-Joliet), urged Illinois taxpayers to be wary of this latest attempt to raise taxes on Illinois families on businesses.
“Twice already this decade Democrats raised income taxes under the premise that the new revenue would address the state’s fiscal crisis,” added Wehrli. “Neither tax hike fixed the State’s problems. We need to stop spending and show some fiscal responsibility.”
Representative Windhorst spoke about the lack of protections in the proposal and Representative McDermed pointed out changes already made by Democrat Senators to the suggested rates. 
Those fighting the tax system change suggest Democrats may have trouble getting the votes out of their midst, but there is concern that at least one Republican may be willing to vote for the question to be put on the ballot – Republican State Rep. Mike Unes of Canton. 
More to come … 
Below is the roll call on SJRCA 1, sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon - Toi W. Hutchinson - Andy Manar - Melinda Bush - Iris Y. MartinezRam VillivalamPat McGuireOmar AquinoAnn GillespieRobert PetersJacqueline Y. CollinsElgie R. Sims, Jr. and Kimberly A. Lightford


  1. The thieves…. first they illegally violate the balanced budget amendment, grossly overspending, now they are stealing our money to pay for their unlawful actions. Illinois state govt is nothing short of organized crime

  2. “Fair Tax?” HA HA!
    Just Democrat propaganda, as always.
    According to a report I heard, just three-tenths of one percent of Illinois taxpayers are millionaires.
    Even if those people DON’T leave Illinois if this tax is enacted, then they can’t bear the burden alone, so WHO will really be paying?
    Obviously, the tax load will fall on the middle class.

  3. Maybe a better tactic would be pooling our money to buy bill board signs with a photo of the politician next to their name telling everyone they are voting to change our state constitution so they raise your taxes any day, every day!

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