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Quinn’s tax plan might sound familiar, but it isn’t

For half a century, Illinois politicians have toyed with the idea of reducing property taxes by increasing the income tax to pay for schools.

The so-called “tax swap” has been embraced at one time or another by everyone from pro-business Republicans to liberal Democrats — some of them more serious about it than others.

In arguing his case last week for Illinois legislators to make permanent the state’s “temporary” tax hike, Gov. Pat Quinn invoked the memory of the most serious effort ever undertaken to actually enact a tax swap.

“Jim Edgar and I don’t always agree, but he was right in 1997 when he advocated a plan to use the income tax to invest more in education while cutting property taxes for the middle class,” Quinn said. “This fundamental principle was right then, and it’s right now.”