By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS
SPRINGFIELD – Republicans in the Illinois House said Friday they are unanimously opposed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposal to overhaul the state’s income tax structure, a key element in his plan to close the state’s long-term budget imbalance.
Pritzker has called for a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to adopt a graduated income tax, which would levy higher tax rates on income earned above certain thresholds. Currently, Illinois levies a flat 4.95-percent tax on all taxable income.
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) issued a statement Friday saying the GOP caucus would stand united against such a plan.
“Higher taxes won't solve our problems, nor have they ever as history has shown,” Durkin said. “Higher taxes only lead to more spending and more government programs. Until our state learns to live within its means, we should not ask for another penny from Illinois families, workers and businesses.”
Both the federal government and most states that have income taxes use a graduated system. But the Illinois Constitution requires that income taxes be levied at a “non-graduated rate.”
In his budget address to lawmakers Wednesday, Pritzker said a graduated tax would generate the revenue needed in future years to pay down the state’s unfunded pension obligations, pay off an $8 billion backlog of unpaid bills and continue funding critical state services.
A constitutional amendment requires passage by a three-fifths supermajority in both chambers of the General Assembly – 73 in the House and 36 in the Senate – followed by voter approval at a statewide general election. That means the soonest a measure could be placed on a ballot would be the November 2020 elections.
Democrats hold 74 seats in the House and 40 seats in the Senate.