Where 61st District candidates stand on graduated income tax

  • Sheri Jesiel, left, and Joyce Mason, right, are candidates for the 61st District seat in the state House.

    Sheri Jesiel, left, and Joyce Mason, right, are candidates for the 61st District seat in the state House.

Updated 10/7/2018 6:35 PM

The candidates for the 61st state House District seat have contrasting views about a possible graduated income tax for Illinois residents.

Republican incumbent Sheri Jesiel of Winthrop Harbor is against the concept, which would replace the current flat-rate system now applied to all residents. Democrat Joyce Mason of Gurnee said she's open to the idea.


Jesiel and Mason will face off in the Nov. 6 election. They discussed taxes and other issues in a joint interview and in questionnaires.

A graduated income tax system, sometimes called a progressive tax, assesses wealthier individuals at a higher rate. Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker is among those advocating to change Illinois to a graduated system.

The brackets and rates for a graduated system would need to be set by lawmakers. The move also would require voters to approve amending the Illinois Constitution.

Jesiel firmly opposes creating a graduated income tax system in Illinois. She said she doesn't trust it.

"I've seen the tax brackets of other states with a graduated tax, and in every single case I looked at, rates are considerably higher on lower and middle-class taxpayers than we currently have in our state," said Jesiel, who joined the General Assembly in 2014.

Jesiel also voiced concern that the rates wouldn't be locked in by law.

"(So) anytime our profligate spending outpaces revenue, rates could be changed without Illinois residents' approval," she said.

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Mason, a business consultant and member of the Woodland School District 50 board, said she's "certainly open" to a graduated tax -- as long as it doesn't create an additional tax burden for poor or middle-class families.

"We have been squeezed hard enough for some time," she said.

The greater tax burden, she said, should be on superwealthy residents. She cited Pritzker and Gov. Bruce Rauner as examples of people who fit the profile.

"We have plenty of wealthy people in Illinois that can spare a little bit more," Mason said.

The 61st District includes much of northern Lake County.

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