Springfield – State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) today voted against a constitutional amendment that would repeal Illinois’ flat income tax and allow state lawmakers to levy income taxes at a graduated rate. Lawmakers supporting the constitutional amendment are seeking to raise state income taxes by billions of dollars a year on top of current tax revenue levels.
“Repealing our state’s flat income tax would empower the governor and majority party to raise taxes and spending by billions of dollars a year,” said Rep. Hammond. “That is not the direction our state should be going. I oppose the graduate income tax because our state needs to do more to get spending under control and protect middle class taxpayers from future tax hikes. The majority party’s tax hike proposal does neither.”
The graduated income tax constitutional amendment, SJRCA1, passed only with support from Democratic members of the Illinois House of Representatives. SJRCA1 is part of a proposal from Democratic lawmakers to raise income taxes by at least $3 billion a year. The Democrats’ proposal to raise income taxes includes no protections for middle class taxpayers from tax hikes in the future or no restraints on state spending.
Rep. Hammond is a co-sponsor of a constitutional amendment to protect middle class taxpayers from future tax hikes, HJRCA34, which would require a two-thirds majority vote from both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly to raise any existing tax or pass a new tax. The majority party has not called HJRCA34 for a vote.
“The majority party says this tax hike say it is needed to close our state’s structural budget deficit, but the truth is we can balance next year’s budget without any new taxes or fee increases,” Hammond continued. “Current tax receipts for state government are more than sufficient to meet the state’s obligations for the next fiscal year, yet the majority wants even more of your money so they can increase spending. We need to get spending under control so we can protect middle class taxpayers and give them tax certainty for a change.”
Since the governor unveiled his graduated income tax proposal in March, Senate Democrats have already changed the income tax rates. The number of taxpayers who receive a tax cut has gone down, while the number of taxpayers who will see a tax increase has gone up. The Illinois House has yet to vote on graduated income tax rates.
Nationally, states have been trending away from a graduated income tax towards a flat income tax. Currently, nine states levy no income tax and nine states levy a flat income tax. In 2011, Utah repealed their graduated income tax and opted for a flat income tax. North Carolina did the same in 2014 and so did Kentucky last year. Twice in the last five years, Colorado voters rejected ballot referenda to adopt a graduated income tax.
Earlier this month, Illinois House Republicans unveiled a balanced budget proposal that would balance the FY2020 budget without raising taxes on Illinois families and businesses. The budget proposal incorporates increased revenue revisions from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) and the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB).