Madigan pulls plug on ‘millionaire tax’ constitutional amendment

SHARE Madigan pulls plug on ‘millionaire tax’ constitutional amendment

SPRINGFIELD–House Speaker Michael Madigan Wednesday spiked his “millionaire tax” constitutional amendment and blamed Republicans for its demise, but the House GOP leader ridiculed that assessment as “a bit confusing” since the speaker faced defections from within his own caucus. 

Madigan’s measure would have put a 3-percent surcharge on the income of those who make more than $1 million. The money would have generated an estimated $1 billion for education.

“Republicans concluded this morning to support millionaires over students in this state,” said Steve Brown, spokesperson for Madigan, D-Chicago.

Despite Madigan’s blame of the GOP, his plan wasn’t supported by state Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, or state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo.

The measure required 71 votes to pass — the same number of House Democrats. But without Drury and Franks’ backing, Madigan was blocked from pushing through his plan on an all-Democratic roll call.

In a statement, Drury said he was troubled by the “piecemeal approach” being used to address the state’s fiscal woes.

“The proposed tax increase falls far short of addressing the full landscape of budget issues that Illinois currently faces,” Drury said.

Franks expressed similar concerns.

“The addition of a tax on incomes over $1 million, without the planned reduction in baseline rates, and absent reforms to our tax-incentive and corporate tax policies, would

simply drive a stake through the heart of our state’s economy, and I cannot support it,” Franks said. “Taking more from taxpayers will simply accelerate our state’s economic decline.”

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said his party, while not supportive of Madigan’s plan, wasn’t the cause of the millionaire amendment’s collapse; defections within Madigan’s own caucus was.

“I find the announcement by the speaker’s office a bit confusing,” Durkin said in a prepared statement. “Speaker Madigan holds the 71 votes required to pass his constitutional amendment. Apparently, support from his own members fell short. There is clearly a bi-partisan coalition that knows we can’t tax our way to prosperity and job creation. His amendment offered no help to the nearly 570,000 unemployed Illinoisans looking for a job.

“It’s my hope the coalition can defeat the onslaught of job-crushing proposals, such as a graduated tax and the permanency of the ‘temporary’ income tax on families and employers,” Durkin continued. “Republicans will continue to stand up for the taxpayers of Illinois.”  

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