This week, members of the Senate Republican Caucus stood with the middle-income families of Illinois and against a $3.4 billion tax increase as Illinois Democrats advanced out of the Senate a proposed graduated income tax that provides no protections for taxpayers.
State Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy), who voted against the proposal, issued the following statement after the vote:
“I have grave concerns that this push to move Illinois to a graduated income tax structure, without guaranteed protections for middle-income families will only lead to further income tax increases. The Constitutional Amendment was just introduced a few weeks ago, and since then, we have already seen the proposed rates change. With no guarantees in place that middle-income families won’t see their taxes go up in the near future, I voted no. Illinois families cannot afford to give Democrats a blank check.”
Senate Republicans, who unanimously voted against the graduated income tax plan, noted that when Illinois’ current Constitution was written, its crafters chose a flat tax because it provided middle-income families with better protections from politicians.
According to data from the Tax Foundation, over the last 20 years, states with flat taxes have reduced taxes 21 times and increased them only four times, two of those four increases happening in Illinois. Over the same period of time, in states with graduated income tax structures, brackets have shifted leading to 24 income tax increases.
Just weeks ago, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced his proposed rates; however, the rates contained in Senate Bill 687, which passed out of the Senate this week, have already been increased from the Governor’s initial proposal. This “bait-and-switch” is exactly what Senate Republicans have been warning taxpayers about.
In a May 1 editorial, the Daily Herald argued that, “On Wednesday, senators demonstrated that not only is that a legitimate fear but they're willing to do the switching even before the bait has been taken.”
The broader point, the paper noted, “is that the rates already are being changed to bring in more revenue, making lawmakers appear all but indifferent to the fears and misgivings of taxpayers.”
The proposal now heads to the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration.