Senate sponsor shelves progressive income-tax amendment

SHARE Senate sponsor shelves progressive income-tax amendment

SPRINGFIELD—A plan to restructure the way Illinois taxes its citizens’ income—from the current flat rate of 5 percent to a graduated rate—failed to gain the momentum it needed Tuesday and was shelved for the year.

A proposed constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, would have tied the state’s income tax to a person’s income: Those earning less on an annual basis would have been taxed at a lower rate, as is the case with federal taxes.

Harmon said this restructuring could have been the fairest solution to the financial troubles Illinois will soon face.

“The temporary income tax is about to expire,” Harmon said. “We’re going to have a calamitous hole in our budget if we don’t react to that. The options are to cut services that people depend upon—education, health care, public services—or to extend a flat, unfair tax in Illinois. We have a third way.”

Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 40 needed to pass in the Senate Tuesday in order for the piece of legislation to have a shot at giving the House adequate time to take up the measure before a May 5 deadline. It would have needed both a three-fifths majority in the Senate and House, 36 and 71 votes respectively, to make the November ballot.

Although Harmon said he had the votes to pass his amendment in the Senate, he failed to garner support in the House after attempting with Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, to work a roll call in that chamber all day Tuesday.

“There’s no point of calling it in the Senate for some sort of symbolic thing,” Harmon said.

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