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Proposed changeover to progressive tax heats up in Springfield

The proposed amendment to change Illinois’ constitution from a flat income tax to one with higher rates for higher earners will get a last-minute hearing Wednesday in Springfield.

House Republicans said they are ready for the fight.

On Tuesday, state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, requested the six-day posting requirements to hold a committee hearing be waived. He asked for his Senate Joint Constitutional Amendment No. 1, which includes language to change the state’s flat tax to a tax structure that levies higher rates on higher incomes, to be heard in the Senate Executive Committee on Wednesday.

State Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, objected.

“What’s at issue here is a substantive amendment to the Illinois constitution that will affect the finances and taxes of millions of Illinoisans,” Righter said. “At the very least, the six days notice required is appropriate for this body … to have a conversation about the contents of the amendment and the effects it might have on our constituents.”

Despite the objection, the Democratic supermajority bypassed the six-day posting requirement to announce a hearing and will debate and likely pass the proposed amendment out of committee.

“This is a procedural issue, not a substantive issue,” Harmon said. “I cannot imagine that anyone is surprised that we are advancing the fair tax.”

He said the issue has been talked about for months, if not years, at the capitol.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said he opposes the measure. However, he expects Democrats will get it out of the Senate and over to the House, where Democrats might not have enough votes to pass the question on to voters. Brady said House Democrats who are on the fence should listen to their constituents.

“Their constituents want constitutional protection against overzealous taxing governments,” Brady said. “We have that now [with the flat income tax]. This [proposed progressive income tax] eliminates that.”

— From Illinois News Network

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