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Illinois moves closer to graduated income tax

(WSIL) — The Illinois House has approved SJRCA1. It is a constitutional amendment to change Illinois from a flat income tax to a progressive tax.

Representatives debated for more than three hours before the vote was called. It passed 73-44.

Representatives Terri Bryant, R- Murphysboro, Dave Severin, R-Benton, and Patrick Windhorst, R-Metropolis, all voted no on the resolution.

Newly appointed democrat Nathan Reitz voted yes.

Bryant said the more successful you are, the more the state of Illinois is going to tax you. 

"To me, those actions change the system to where everyone pays the same, to one that punishes success," Bryant said. 

Windhorst said he see constituents are already leaving because of Illinois’ taxes. 

"Many people are leaving because we have the highest overall tax burden of any state," Windhorst said.

Severin is a business owner in southern Illinois. He said the state needs more tax payers, not taxes. 

"Small business owners like myself are under attack, job creators are under attack, southern Illinois is under attack," Severin said. 

The question will now be placed on the November 2020 ballot and must be approved by voters.

The governor said under this amendment, no one earning less than $250,000 a year will pay more in taxes. 

Pritzker predicts the tax change will generate around $3 billion dollars a year in new revenue. 

After the House approved the constitutional amendment, Governor Pritzker told reporters the next step is lowering property taxes. 

"It’s our job to make sure our children receive a quality education they deserve while we provide more property tax relief to homeowners," Pritzker said.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider released the following statement:

"It’s disappointing, but not surprising, to see Democrat lawmakers decide that a blank check from Illinois taxpayers is the solution to our financial issues. It’s not surprising because it’s been their agenda for years. Raising taxes yet again and asking for more from the most overtaxed group of people in America is not a solution to our problems, it unfairly punishes taxpayers for problems they did not create. We need to reform the way we do government in Illinois before ever thinking about taking more from our hard working families.”

More Reaction below:

"The graduated income tax is a very bad idea, proposed at the wrong time," said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch. "It sends the message to job creators that the General Assembly believes there will never be enough revenue to meet their appetite for spending."

House Speaker Mike Madigan:

“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.

“There is more work to be done, and House Democrats stand ready to continue our efforts to build a stronger middle class and build a stronger Illinois by making income taxes and property taxes fairer for the middle class, making our economy stronger by expanding access to career and vocational training that prepare people for high-wage jobs, and making health care more affordable for Illinois families.”

"Manufacturers across the state have been clear: this graduated income tax proposal will make it more difficult to grow and stay in Illinois," said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. "Once again, Illinois politicians have signaled they 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. We cannot tax and spend our way to prosperity."

“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.”

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