Americans for Tax Reform urges lawmakers in Springfield to oppose the efforts of Speaker Mike Madigan (D) and Gov. Pat Quinn (D) to impose a progressive income tax and a 3-percent additional tax on higher income earners.

Illinois is tied with Nevada for the second-worst state unemployment rate in the country. A progressive income tax aimed at the middle class and a so-called “millionaires tax” aimed at higher income earners would do nothing to alleviate the state’s economic woes. Lawmakers in Springfield should be looking to implement pro-growth tax reform and tackling wasteful spending, not looking to soak taxpayers for more of their hard-earned money. With a state pension system in crisis and twenty new or higher taxes hitting taxpayers through Obamacare – including five tax hikes targeting the middle class specifically – the last thing Illinois needs is higher taxes.

The So-Called Millionaires Tax

Speaker Mike Madigan is currently pushing what is billed as a “millionaires tax” – an additional 3-percent tax rate on high income earners. Illinois taxpayers should be weary of such a tax as it rarely remains a tax on high income earners and could easily be expanded to include more and more Illinois taxpayers. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley enacted a millionaires tax in Maryland during the 2007 legislative session. The unpopular tax was repealed by Maryland Democrats in 2010. Gov. O’Malley doubled back and enacted a new millionaires’ tax that, in reality, targeted Maryland’s “thousandaires” – a tax that remains unpopular in the state.

Voters in Washington State rejected a millionaires tax proposal resoundingly at the ballot box, despite backing from the father of billionaire Bill Gates.

The Progressive Income Tax

Moving Illinois from a flat rate to a series of graduated tax rates could prove disastrous for an already weak state economy. The Tax Foundation estimates that a progressive income tax would increase taxes on 61-percent of Illinois employers – costing the state even more jobs. This is the opposite strategy a state tied for the second worst unemployment rate in the nation should be pursuing.

Both Proposals are Violations of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge

Both HJRCA 33 and HJRCA 51 are clear violations of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a promise made by lawmakers to their constituents to “oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes.” Representative Jack Franks (D) has tried to argue that, since both proposals would require voter approval, they are not violations of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. He is incorrect in this assumption. The Pledge clearly states the signer will “oppose any and all efforts.” HJRCA 33 and HJRCA 51 would constitute an effort to increase taxes as voters would not be given the choice to increase or lower their taxes by an equivalent amount – their choice is simply between higher taxes and the status quo. This is clearly an “effort” to increase taxes.

Americans for Tax Reform urges all Illinois lawmakers to stand against the liberal tax and spend philosophy of Speaker Mike Madigan and Gov. Pat Quinn and vote NO on HJRCA 33 and HJRCA 51. 

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