No action on progressive income tax
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate adjourned Tuesday without taking action on a progressive income-tax plan. Tuesday was the last day that the Senate could have voted to put the question on the November ballot ahead of a May 4 deadline. State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said he had more than enough votes to pass the measure out of the Senate, but there weren't the needed 71 votes in the House.
"There's no effort to bottle it up," he told reporters Tuesday afternoon. "But there's a legitimate question as to whether the votes are there to pass it. I have no doubt that there are enough members who would vote in favor of it if they believed it had an opportunity to pass."
He said "there's no point in calling it in the Senate for some sort of symbolic effort" if there wasn't enough support in the House.
Harmon said his proposal, which would have imposed higher tax rates as an Illinois resident makes more money, "is a path to a sound financial footing in Illinois where we neither need to extend the flat, regressive tax on middle class families nor cut he services that those families depend upon."
But Republicans and business groups argued that it would result in a tax increase on most Illinois families and would further dampen the state's economic recovery.
The state director of Americans for Prosperity, David From, said that "changing our state's Constitution to allow for a progressive tax would open the door to continued tax increases in the future."
Both Champaign-Urbana legislators, Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, and Rep, Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, have voiced support for a move to a progressive income tax. Illinois currently levies a flat 5 percent income tax. But a temporary increase in that tax rate expires in January.