Illinois lawmakers finalize arguments for and against progressive income tax amendment to be sent to voters. Last year, lawmakers passed Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 with only Democrats in support. Voters can amend the constitution this November. A three-fifth vote is required.
If approved, it would change the state’s constitutionally protected flat income tax to a tax structure with higher rates on higher earners. This week, a measure, spelling out the arguments for and against the amendment that will be sent to the voters, is passed by the lawmakers. That means the Secretary of State will publish and mail arguments for and against the resolution.
The Secretary of State’s Office will, under the proposed fiscal 2021 budget, get $2.5 million to distribute such material to voters. “Democrats wrote the arguments in favor, Republicans wrote the arguments against,” state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, said Friday. “Neither side changed each other’s arguments. This is fair, it’s balanced, and going to voters for them to decide.”
State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon has warned that the arguments, written by the Democrats, lacked facts. Demmer asked, “Illinois has overall one of the highest tax burdens, why was that fact not included in the explanation?” “That’s a fact not included in this explanation,” Welch said. “That’s right. It is selectively included facts in this explanation,” Demmer said. “This is too important of a question to try and put your thumb on the scale.”
The amendment will lower tax rates for 97 percent of Illinois, the Democrats argue. Taxing higher-income higher rates negatively impacts small businesses, many of which file as individuals, which would result in higher taxes, the Republicans argue.