Monday, April 28, 2008

Income tax vote expected

The Illinois Senate is expected Tuesday to vote on a proposal to change the Constitution so that the state could have a graduated income tax rate rather than the current flat rate (3 percent on individuals and 5 percent on corporations). That's according to the sponsors of the proposal, Democratic Sens. Michael Frerichs of Gifford and Kwame Raoul of Chicago.

"This is no tax increase," Raoul said, referring to a misconception that this measure relates to a House proposal that would double the tax rate on individuals making more than $250,000. (That measure recently failed. See more here.)

Both Senate sponsors said in a Statehouse news conference Monday that they did not introduce the constitutional amendment to increase taxes as a way to generate revenue for any specific purpose, although they both support a graduated income tax rate. And they acknowledged that such a system eventually would lead to increased taxes. They want to establish what they said would be a fairer tax structure, given that the existing system relies on local consumption taxes that often burden low-income residents.

The measure previously advanced out of a Senate committee (see our previous blog post for more), something the sponsors say gives them hope that the full chamber can do the same Tuesday. While the sponsors said they were counting on one Republican vote in support of the measure, it would still need more GOP support to pass the House with the necessary three-fifths vote. Then it would have to win support from of at least 60 percent of voters in the next election.

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