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Progressive tax, term-limit amendments falter at Statehouse

1 year ago Doug Finke, State Capitol Bureau

Proposed constitutional amendments died on Tuesday

From Doug Finke, State Capitol Bureau :
Proposed constitutional amendments to bring a progressive income tax to Illinois and impose term limits on statewide elected officials both died Tuesday in the General Assembly.
A Senate subcommittee refused to advance the term-limit measure that would have limited statewide office-holders to two terms, or eight years, in office.
The progressive income tax amendment, that would have asked voters if they wanted to impose higher income tax rates on people with higher incomes, was not called for a vote in the Senate. The measure had to pass the Senate on Tuesday in order to have a chance of meeting the deadline to appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.
The income tax measure faced an uphill road in the House even if it had been approved by the Senate. All 47 House Republicans and one Democrat, Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo, previously signed a resolution saying they were opposed to a progressive income tax. That meant the amendment did not have the 71 votes needed to pass.
Also, earlier this spring, the House Revenue Committee voted against putting a graduated tax amendment on the ballot.
Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, spent a large part of Tuesday trying to round up enough votes in the House to pass the amendment. He said he would not ask the Senate to vote on it unless he was sure it could also pass the House.
“I want to make sure there is a path to victory in the House before advancing it out of the Senate,” Harmon said. “There are Republicans who can, should and will vote for this amendment if given the opportunity. I have no doubt we will need a bipartisan roll call in the House, but I am confident we can achieve that.”
However, hours later, the Senate announced it was concluding its business for the day without voting on the progressive tax. Harmon had said he would not call the amendment for a vote unless the votes were secure in the House.
“There's no point in calling it in the Senate for some sort of symbolic vote,” he said.
Republicans argued that the progressive income tax amounted to a tax hike for most Illinoisans. Harmon said that under his plan, most people would pay less than they now do under the temporary income tax increase. However, tax rates under the temporary increase are scheduled to go down Jan. 1 unless lawmakers make it permanent.

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