* Remember yesterday when we discussed the proposed constitutional amendment that deleted existing language barring the imposition of more than one income tax at a time? A refresher…
Under the proposed language, [opponents] argued, the state would actually be allowed to levy multiple income taxes, each for a different purpose, which would effectively allow the state to tax the same income multiple times. […]
According to Harmon, the prohibition on levying multiple income taxes was simply a companion to the requirement for a single, flat tax rate. Without that prohibition, he said, the framers feared that lawmakers could levy a series of “flat” taxes on different levels of income – say, for example, one on income up to $30,000; another “flat” rate on income between $30,000 and $60,000, and so on – effectively creating a multi-tiered tax structure through a series of limited “flat” taxes on different levels of income.
By allowing the state to create a multi-tiered tax structure, Harmon said, the prohibition on multiple taxes would become unnecessary.
Furthermore, he said, if supporters of the proposed change had left in the prohibition on multiple taxes, critics would likely argue that a multi-tiered structure would violate that prohibition.
* Sen. Don Harmon was asked about it during yesterday’s Senate Executive Committee hearing…
“You don’t believe removing the language that says you can only have one tax on income is removing a protection for taxpayers?” [Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon] asked.
Harmon said that original language was only in there because the framers of Illinois’ constitution were afraid without it, legislators would create layered flat taxes, or a “synthetic graduated tax.”
“If you read … what that sentence means, it is intended to enshrine a flat tax and not give legislators an easy way around a flat tax,” he said. “If we (kept the language) … what we are essentially doing is creating a series of siloed flat taxes based on income level.”
Clear as mud.
SJRCA1 passed the committee on a party line vote.
* Meanwhile, this is a crystal clear admission about what the fight against a graduated income tax is really about…
Republicans, like state Sen. Dale Righter, from Mattoon, said they‘re worried this would make it easier for future legislatures to endlessly raise taxes.
“Politicians … are pretty good at the class-warfare game,” Righter said. “And if you can point to them and say, ‘Well we’re going to get more money for your schools but we’re going to make the guys over there pay for it,’ that makes it easier to do.”
Yes, it does. Jacking up rates on upper-income taxpayers is a whole lot easier than raising them on middle-income taxpayers.
* And that concept is not so radical…
“This is something many of us have been working on for the better part of a decade, and it is long overdue,” said state Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat who’s sponsoring the proposed amendment. “It is not a radical departure. It is, in fact, the common tax practice in most every other jurisdiction, and I believe that it will give us some nimbleness in our tax policy to allow us to close our structural deficit and begin to tackle the problems that Illinois faces.”
* In other news, Gov. Pritzker was asked Tuesday about GOP Sen. Dan McConchie’s proposed constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds super-majority vote in both chambers to increase state taxes and fees…
Well, there was actually no negotiation about that. It was just something that they introduced on their own. The fact is that they haven’t proposed to you about how they’re actually overcome the budget deficit of the state or how they’re going to pay the bills of the state. They’re just demagoguing the issue.
So, I asked McConchie’s spokesperson if the Senator had ever requested a meeting with the governor to talk about his proposal…
Sen. McConchie met with a few of the Governor’s people a couple weeks ago, where the Senator mentioned to them that he has never met with the Governor and they told him they’d be happy to set something up, but Sen. McConchie has never heard from them since.
*** UPDATE 1 *** The governor’s office tells me that Sen. McConchie has accepted an invitation to the governor’s mansion tonight.
*** UPDATE 2 *** From Sen. McConchie…
The rest of the sentence should be “along with everyone else in the Senate.”
[ *** End Of Updates *** ]
* And finally, take a look at these two excerpts from a Tribune story…
Last month, Pritzker unveiled a plan he says would generate $3.4 billion in new annual revenue […]
Pritzker said that without a graduated income tax to generate new revenue, the only available options to address the state’s $3.2 billion budget deficit, more than $8 billion in unpaid bills and $134 billion in unfunded pension liabilities would be a 15 percent across-the-board spending cut or a 1 percentage-point tax increase on everyone.
He’s got a projected $3.2 billion structural deficit and his plan would raise a projected $3.4 billion. That doesn’t leave a whole heck of a lot of room for anything else, or for the unexpected.