U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said middle-income Illinois families would be hit especially hard by the House Republicans' proposed tax plan and urged congressional lawmakers to "come home" and talk to constituents before voting on the fast-moving measure.
Eliminating state and local tax deductions would increase taxes on nearly a third of all Illinois taxpayers, Durbin charged Monday in a news conference at Heartland Realtor Organization in Crystal Lake.
He was joined by McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks and real estate industry executives who said the housing industry already is lagging in Illinois and will be hurt by the measure.
Republicans have said the plan will offer needed tax relief for middle-income families and allow for business expansion by lowering the corporate tax rate.
The National Association of Realtors says some measures, such as limiting the exemption on capital gains from the sale of a primary residence, pose a danger to homeownership and tags future generations with a $1.5 trillion cost.
The tax plan would mostly benefit corporations and the wealthy and result in double taxation, Durbin said. He described it as a "backward approach" and asked Republicans to join a bipartisan effort to make adjustments.
He singled out the potential impact in Illinois' 6th and 14th congressional districts, which cover Crystal Lake and much of the West and Far Northwest suburbs. The seats are held by Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton and U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Plano, respectively, who were part of the majority in the 216-212 vote that allowed the tax plan to advance.
Under the proposal, 51 percent of taxpayers in the 6th District -- the 12th highest among districts nationally -- would see taxes increase because they would not be allowed to claim the average state and local tax deduction of $10,189, according to information provided by Durbin.
A family of four in Crystal Lake with about $76,000 in annual income would pay about $1,400 more in taxes if the deduction is eliminated, Durbin said.
The plan made public last Thursday could have a House vote this week, with the Senate taking it up before the Thanksgiving break on Nov. 16.
Durbin said it would be "clear negligence" for lawmakers not to discuss the plan with constituents in advance.
"We face a very historic change in the next few week," he said. "Talk to the leaders in your community. Talk to the families in your community."
Roskam, chairman of the House's tax policy subcommittee, last week praised the bill and included testimonials of support from several small business owners. A family of four with an income of $59,000 would get a $1,100 tax break, he said.
Hultgren last week said the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act offers "real reforms" that simplify the tax code, lower taxes and stimulate job growth.
Corporate taxes would be cut to a flat 20 percent from the current maximum of 35 percent.
At issue is whether tax cuts will be offset by the elimination of popular deductions.
"The plan would also eliminate key deductions for medical expenses and student loan interest the middle-class families rely on," Durbin said.