United States

GOP senators oppose prospect of another progressive income tax proposal in Illinois

(The Center Square) – Illinois Republican lawmakers are vowing to block any proposed progressive state income tax.

The Illinois Constitution requires a flat income tax. The progressive income tax proposal in 2020 would have brought a tiered income tax structure with increased taxes on higher income earners, but voters rejected the idea.

State Sen. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, said he plans to offer the measure in the coming weeks.

Senate Minority Leader John Curran, R-Downers Grove, said he would introduce legislation to block the tax change.

“We are here today to talk about our firm resolution to reject the latest attempts to change to a progressive income tax proposed by Sen. Rob Martwick that we stand firmly in opposition to,” Curran said during a news conference at the capitol Wednesday.

Martwick said something needs to be done to avoid cutting funding for state services.

“We are on a path to a place where the state will once again have to cut funding for education, essential services, public transportation, we will stop investing in our roads, and our bridges will crumble,” Martwick told The Center Square Wednesday. “Because we are not paying attention to that.”

Martwick then urged the Republicans to devise a plan if they did not want to switch to a progressive income tax.

“This is an idea. Is it the best idea? I do not know, but it is an idea. It’s a solution for those problems,” Martwick said. “What I would say is that this is my solution. What is yours?”

In 2020, voters rejected the proposed progressive tax with 55% of the votes going against changing from a flat income tax to one with increased rates for higher earners.

Curran said Illinois residents are tired of having their tax dollars wasted.

“It failed because Illinois voters are sick and tired of writing blank checks to their state government and having their government keep coming back for more and more,” Curran said. “Despite the proponent’s plan, voters see that this will raise taxes on everyone.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker was asked about the possibility of the proposal coming back. Pritzker did not answer the question directly but said his focus would be on other areas.

“That’s not something I am focused on this session,” Pritzker last week. “We have done important work to balance the budget and close corporate loopholes. There is a mistaken belief by some that the balancing of the budget was entirely because of money that came from [federal tax funds for COVID-19 relief] to the government, and that is just false.”

As of Wednesday, no proposed constitutional amendment has been filed in either the Illinois Senate or the House.

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