Illinois Republicans blast Democratic income tax resolution as election-year politics

Lawmakers on Wednesday sparred over a proposal to change the state’s tax structure, with Democrats expressing support for taxing higher earners more than low-income taxpayers while Republicans decried the idea as an attempt at “class warfare” to score political points ahead of the November election.

Changing Illinois’ flat income tax system to what's known as a "graduated" system with different tax rates for different income levels is an idea that hadn't gained much traction during the 15 years Democrats have had control of the General Assembly.

It was a key issue, though, during this year’s Democratic primary for governor and has become a major campaign plank of the party’s nominee, billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker.

Now longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan has thrown his support behind the idea. But his timing, with just days to go before a deadline that prohibits the addition of constitutional amendments to the Illinois ballot less than six months before an election, means voters won’t get to weigh in on the question until at least 2020. The state's existing flat tax system is enshrined in the constitution and can't be changed without voters' approval.

On Wednesday, Republicans said Madigan's timing was no coincidence. Read the rest of the Chicago Tribune story.