Illinois Graduated Tax Proponents Hold Press Conference

May 2, 2016

Illinois Rep. Lou Lang, Rep. Christian Mitchell, and Emily Miller of Voices for Illinois Children just held a press conference to respond to criticism of their proposed graduated income tax proposal. The proposal, which Lang terms the Fair Tax, consists of (1) a proposed constitutional amendment removing the prohibition on a graduated income tax and (2) legislation enacting the new tax rates.

  • Lang said claims that his plan will increase taxes are "disingenous" and "spinning" since it will, according to him, cut taxes for most individuals and businesses. Overall, however, it's a net revenue increase of nearly $2 billion, achieved by (to quote Lang) "sane and responsible tax increases on the wealthy." (It's a minor point, but the income tax is scheduled to drop to 3.25 percent in 2025, making this proposal a tax increase on everyone relative to that rate.)
  • Miller: "This measure has some very promising bipartisan support. I do expect we'll be able to pass this measure tomorrow, which is the deadline."
  • Miller, responding to a reporter's question, said the proposal does not affect business taxes. Actually, the constitutional amendment proposal strikes existing language capping the corporate income tax rate, and some 72 percent of pass-through business income will be subject to the proposal's top two tax rates of 10.25 percent and 11.25 percent (up from 5.25 percent today). So in actuality it affects lots of businesses.
  • Lang said that many people have told him that "all the millionaires" will leave Illinois if his bill passes, which he says is unlikely. However, when asked whether tax rates could go up on most people if the constitutional amendment were adopted, his reply was not reassuring: "I hope it's sustainable. A bill can be amended, a law can be amended."

Read our analysis of the proposal here, which we released at a press conference in Springfield last week.

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