Illinois' Tax Trifecta: Millionaire tax, progressive tax and permanent income tax hike

Mar 28, 2014

Thursday was a taxing day in the Illinois House. One committee put a stake into efforts to bring one progressive income tax to Illinois, while it also got the ball rolling on a potential progressive millionaire tax in the state.

A similar progressive income tax proposal recently passed a Senate committee, but the House Revenue Committee voted down a proposed amendment after three Democrats withheld support.

In the voting for the millionaire progressive tax proposed by House Speaker Michael Madigan, the committee voted along party lines.

More from State Journal-Register reporter Doug Finke:

Madigan said his amendment would apply to the more than 13,000 millionaires in the state. He said it would raise about $1 billion a year that would be distributed to K-12 school districts on a per-pupil basis. Each school district would receive $550 per student regardless of a district’s financial health.

“Within our society, those who earn over $1 million are better equipped than others to support education,’ Madigan said.

Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said he was concerned about the impact on small businesses, many of which are set up to pay income taxes at the personal rate rather than the higher corporate rate. Coupled with the 2011 temporary income tax increase, McSweeney said, Madigan’s proposal would mean a 167 percent tax increase on those businesses since 2010.

Illinois Manufacturer’s Association president Greg Baise called the idea “bad policy and bad form.”

“This is more of a perception tax than a reality,” he said. “It is a perception Illinois wants to penalize success.”

However, Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, said the surtax is a good approach for areas like his that do not have many millionaires.

“This is an opportunity for a lot of areas in the state to actually do a lot better with minimal impact on my regions,” he said.

The proposed amendment now goes to the full House, which must approve it by a three-fifths vote. The Senate will then have to approve it by the same margin for the issue to appear on the November ballot.

Taxes have been the theme of the week between the millionaire progressive tax proposal, the progressive income tax talk and Gov. Pat Quinn’s announcement during his budget address that the temporary income tax hike in Illinois will be made permanent.

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass believes Democratic bosses John Cullerton and Madigan are really behind Quinn’s income tax announcement.

Writes Kass:

Of course they waited until after the March primary. Boss Madigan, the speaker of the Illinois House for about three decades now, and his little buddy, state Senate President John Cullerton, wouldn’t dare risk too much.

So they held their hands back until after the primary, where elections are won in Illinois. The voters don’t pick candidates in Illinois. Instead, Madigan draws the election maps, so he picks the voters for his candidates. And then they make him boss.

But once the election was done, it was time to slap the taxpayers.

And the other day Quinn trotted out to deliver his tax message, telling us that the 67 percent tax increase the Democrats once insisted was temporary would not be temporary.

A Tribune editorial called it The Quinncome Tax a while back, and it has a musical ring to it, although the notes are played by Madigan and Cullerton, their knuckles bouncing along the faces of taxpayers.

They’re little men, almost like porcelain dolls with bitter, hard, red candy hearts. Though their hands are quite small, they pack a punch.

They control the state House and the state Senate, and by extension, they control the state tax man.

A U.S. Supreme Court justice once said that the power to tax is the power to destroy, and just look around you at the jobs gone from Illinois, the businesses that have fled, the red ink in the budget books, the people so tired and disinterested that they’ve all but stopped voting, and tell me that’s not true.

What’s worse is that they’re not done slapping you. They slap you and you’re still asleep. And they know it. So they’ll slap you some more.

Strong words from Kass. For more on the tax trifecta from this week, check out “Only in Illinois” with Reboot Illinois’ Madeleine Doubek and Matthew Dietrich.

Taxed out by tax talk yet? If not, read on:

Which Illinois cities have the highest sales taxes? This list shows you.

Here’s a county-by-county breakdown of Illinois sales taxes.

Taxes are the hot topic of this 2014 Paul Simon Public Policy Institute survey. Not surprisingly, people don’t like them.

Don’t just complain about taxes. Tell the people who can take action with our Sound Off tool. Send a message to your lawmakers in Springfield, Gov. Pat Quinn and the four leaders of the General Assembly in a few simple mouse clicks.

Here are video highlights of Mike Madigan’s press conference explaining his plan for a  ”millionaire tax” to fund education.

Related: Michael Kolenc: Let's get this done and end gerrymandering in Illinois
Oct 23, 2013

Every 10 years we count ourselves. One, two three…  Those results impact federal funding, allotment of electoral votes and the drawing of state legislative maps.  That process, or re-drawing the maps to…

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