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On the record: Resolution filed to oppose a progressive income tax in Illinois


Tuesday, March 6, 2018  |  Commentary  |  By Austin Berg - Illinois Policy Institute

Taxes, income (86) Martwick, Robert--State House, 19 , McSweeney, David--State House, 52
A new resolution would put lawmakers on the record for supporting or opposing a tax structure that would likely lead to massive tax hikes on Illinois' middle class.

A new resolution would get lawmakers on the record regarding whether they support scrapping Illinois’ constitutionally protected flat income tax.

Filed March 2 by state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, House Resolution 891 states that “the Illinois Constitution should not be amended to permit a graduated income tax.”

Given Illinois’ reckless spending habits, a graduated, or “progressive” income tax is the last thing the state needs. But multiple constitutional amendments to get a progressive income tax on the ballot in November are currently before lawmakers in the General Assembly.

McSweeney’s resolution already has seven co-sponsors. Illinoisans may remember a similar resolution in 2013 and 2014 during a failed attempt to institute a progressive tax. That resolution – HR 241, also filed by McSweeney – had 47 co-sponsors.

While sold as a tax on the rich, a progressive income tax could have disastrous consequences for middle-class Illinoisans, while failing to address the state’s misplaced spending priorities.

One bill filed by state Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, lays bare the type of punishing rates lawmakers are seeking to implement via a progressive tax structure. House Bill 3522, which establishes a rate structure for a graduated income tax, constitutes an income tax hike for a large majority of Illinois taxpayers.

And keep in mind that middle-class Illinoisans just recently endured the largest permanent tax increase in state history.

Yet another massive tax hike, as Martwick is proposing, would undoubtedly cost Illinois investment and jobs while adding fuel to the state’s outmigration crisis. The 2011 tax hikes cost the Illinois economy $56 billion and 9,300 jobs.

Lawmakers opposing further tax hikes on overburdened Illinoisans would be wise to consider McSweeney’s resolution.