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From the State-Journal Register: A proposal to move the state to a graduated income tax died in the Illinois House Wednesday when the sponsor opted not to call the bill for a vote.
Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, said he did not have enough votes to pass the proposed constitutional amendment that needed 71, or three-fifths approval, rather than 60 votes to pass the House.
Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, who had a companion bill setting out the rates that would be charged under a graduated income tax, blamed Gov. Bruce Rauner, who opposes a graduated income tax.
“The constitutional amendment had enough votes a day or two ago,” Lang said. “It no longer does. The long arm of Bruce Rauner reached into the House Republican caucus and simply took people off of their positions. We had three to five Republicans who were prepared to vote for it, and now they’re no longer willing to do that.”
Mitchell previously said he wanted to call the amendment for a vote no matter what so that voters would know how their representatives felt about a graduated tax. That changed on Wednesday.
“With something this large, you want to make sure you have a bipartisan effort,” said Mitchell, who agreed that three to five Republicans initially had indicated support for the idea.
Neither Lang nor Mitchell would identify those Republicans.
“We’re not going to name names, to throw our colleagues under the bus,” Mitchell said. “I would say again we had three to five Republican legislators, and Gov. Rauner and ultimately the politicians he controls decided they didn’t want to give 99 percent of people in this state tax relief.”
Lang has said his plan would actually result in a tax cut for 99 percent of Illinois taxpayers while still raising an additional $1.9 billion in revenue.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs said it was “rather disingenuous” for Democrats to blame Rauner and the House Republicans for the amendment’s failure. The Democrats, he said, have 71 members and could have passed the amendment on their own.
However, at least one Democrat – Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo – publicly said he was opposed to the amendment. Two others didn’t support another amendment that would have imposed a 3 percent surtax on incomes above $1 million.
Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said “it’s more likely legislators understand, as the Illinois Department of Revenue reported, that their graduated tax would result in driving thousands of jobs out of Illinois.”
Revenue released a lengthy report saying the state could expect to lose 20,000 jobs and 43,000 people in the first four years of a graduated tax. It said the state’s economy would contract by $1.9 billion. The costs would continue to climb after that, the department said.
“I think it was a disgraceful report,” Mitchell said. “All of the modeling we’ve seen said it was going to be a tax cut for many, many people. This whole voodoo of millionaires leaving can’t be true because the fastest-growing state for millionaires in the country is California, with a 13.3 percent top rate.”
Mitchell said he will continue to pursue a graduated income tax in the future. The next time the proposed amendment could be put on the ballot is 2018.