Illinois lawmakers finalize arguments for and against progressive income tax amendment to be sent to voters – The Center Square

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State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, and state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, debate arguments for a constitutional amendment to change the flat tax to a progressive tax

(The Center Square) – The arguments for and against a constitutional amendment proposing a change to the state’s flat income tax is set to be sent to voters.

Lawmakers last year passed Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 with only Democrats in support. It puts a constitutional amendment up for voter consideration this November that, if approved by three-fifths vote, would change the state's constitutionally protected flat income tax to a tax structure with higher rates on higher earners.

This week, lawmakers passed a measure spelling out the arguments for and against the amendment that will be sent to voters. That means the Secretary of State will publish and mail arguments for and against the resolution. The proposed fiscal 2021 budget gives the Secretary of State's Office $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, warned the arguments written by Democrats lacked facts.

“Illinois has overall one of the highest tax burdens, why was that fact not included in the explanation?” Demmer asked.

“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.”

Democrats argue the amendment will mean lower tax rates for 97 percent of Illinois. But Republicans say taxing higher income higher rates negatively impacts small businesses, many of which file as individuals, which would result in higher taxes.

Those arguments approved by the General Assembly can be found here.

Greg Bishop

Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other statewide issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience, and previously hosted “Bishop On Air,” a morning-drive current events talk show.

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