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updated: 1/15/2014 9:16 PM

House Republicans: No support for graduated tax

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A group of suburban Republican state lawmakers said Wednesday that no House GOP members will vote for a graduated income tax, a system that taxes people based on how much they earn.

At a Chicago news conference, state Rep. David McSweeney of Barrington Hills touted his resolution opposing the idea, which has garnered nearly enough support so far in the Illinois House to block a change.

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Still, Republicans warn that supporters of a graduated tax will be trying to change minds.

"This fight's not over yet," McSweeney said.

Illinois has a flat income tax for individuals of 5 percent for everyone, no matter how much they make. Tying tax rates to income would require a constitutional amendment.

Some Democrats, including state Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park, expect to push for a graduated income tax amendment this year as lawmakers try to craft a budget that includes a reduction in the 2011 tax hike in 2015.

Republicans argue a graduated income tax would raise rates and stifle businesses in the state, and Democrats say a tax tied to income is more fair and the new rates could drop for most people.

Tax rates likely wouldn't be set until after lawmakers vote on a constitutional amendment, so it could be difficult to tell how individual people would be affected by a policy change.

McSweeney's plan has 46 active backers and 48 votes would be needed to ensure the tax couldn't go forward. State Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, is the only member of his party that has signed on.

"No Republican is going to vote for this proposal," McSweeney said.

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