Breaking News Bar
updated: 7/30/2014 6:47 AM

Illinois to ask voters about taxing millionaires

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn speaks at an elementary school in Berwyn, Ill., Tuesday, July 29, 2014, before signing legislation that would add a nonbinding resolution to the November ballot asking voters whether millionaires should pay an additional income tax to help fund schools. (AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, Brian Jackson)  MANDATORY CREDIT, MAGS OUT, NO SALES

      Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn speaks at an elementary school in Berwyn, Ill., Tuesday, July 29, 2014, before signing legislation that would add a nonbinding resolution to the November ballot asking voters whether millionaires should pay an additional income tax to help fund schools. (AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, Brian Jackson) MANDATORY CREDIT, MAGS OUT, NO SALES

 
Associated Press

Illinois voters will get a chance in November to weigh in on whether millionaires should pay an additional income tax to help fund schools after Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Tuesday adding a nonbinding resolution to the ballot.

The resolution asks voters whether incomes over $1 million should be taxed with a 3 percent surcharge. It comes as Quinn is locked in a hotly contested gubernatorial race with multimillionaire businessman Bruce Rauner, a Republican.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

"It's very important that our state put its money where its mouth is when it comes to education," the Democrat said at a bill-signing event at a school in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn. "We need to get more resources to help our students learn."

House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, proposed the idea as a way to raise revenue, saying it could bring in $1 billion a year for education -- about $550 more per student.

Madigan -- a lawyer who said he earns more than $1 million "in a good year" -- had wanted the idea proposed as a constitutional amendment on the November ballot. But he could not get the 71-vote supermajority in the House needed to put the amendment before voters. Illinois' constitution imposes a flat tax, in which all taxpayers pay at the same rate regardless of income.

The non-binding question would give the idea momentum in the Legislature next year, proponents say. But critics claim it's simply a way to drive people who support Democrats to the polls in the governor's race and to further highlight Rauner's wealth, which Quinn and other Democrats say causes him to be out-of-touch with working-class people.

Quinn denied that was the case Tuesday, saying he has advocated "for a long time" for a tax system based on ability to pay.

Rauner opposes an extra tax on millionaires because he says lowering the overall tax burden will make Illinois more competitive. He has said the ballot question "doesn't do much."

Campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf described it Tuesday as "another toothless referendum." He noted Quinn and other Democrats raised income taxes 67 percent in 2011, but still cut millions from general state aid -- money sent to schools to help cover the basic cost of educating students.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, Illinois had 14,692 tax returns in 2011 from households where adjusted gross income was $1 million or more. Collectively, their income was $42.7 billion.

Illinois has 4.8 percent of the nation's millionaires, according to an analysis of IRS figures, and ranks fifth in the number of wealthy residents behind California, New York, Texas and Florida.

The measure will be among several poll-style questions on the November ballot, including one asking voters if Illinois should raise the minimum wage. State election officials certify ballots next month.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here