House lawmakers voted along party lines for the most part yesterday when it came to the idea of endorsing a switch to a progressive income tax.
House Resolution 1025 calls for the state of Illinois to switch from its current format of a flat income tax to a progressive, or graduated, income tax in the years to come. The Democrat-controlled House of Representative carried the vote 61-52 in favor of the switch, with the majority of lawmakers casting the same vote as the others within their same party.
Jacksonville-based State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer, a Republican representing Illinois’ 100th House District, voted against the resolution. Davidsmeyer addresses claims by House Speaker Mike Madigan that say only 0.4 percent (point-four-percent) of Illinois residents would be negatively affected by a switch to a graduated income tax.
“One of Madigan’s top lieutenants, Leader Lang, was saying in his proposal that only the top point four percent would actually have to pay more taxes. The reality is that we need the high-earners to stay in the state of Illinois. They could go to Florida or somewhere for six months and a day and technically not be an Illinois citizen. We need these people to stay and help contribute to what’s been created over the past one hundred years. We need to create an environment to allow them to make the easy decision to stay in the state of Illinois. If the people who are paying leave, then the people who are actually in need of help, and I’m talking about real need, they’re the ones that get hurt.”
Davidsmeyer says there are a number of problems he has with the idea of switching to a progressive income tax. However, there’s one issue in particular that’s causing the local State Representative the greatest concern.
“The biggest concern that I have is the creation of class warfare. The state of Illinois is traditionally a blue state, and class warfare could easily be created by lowering somebody to possibly four percent but increasing the top earners to fifteen percent. That’s definitely going to drive the earners and the highest taxpayers out of the state of Illinois.”
While Davidsmeyer admits that yesterday’s vote was simply in regards to a resolution, essentially a way to gauge where lawmakers stand on the issue despite actually making any real change, he believes that if the state were to pass legislation to switch to a progressive income tax, residents across Illinois, including those right here in the 100th House District, would be impacted.
“When they talk about not raising your taxes but raising somebody else’s taxes to pay for it, that’s kind of a fairytale. You take a look at the states that they compare us to when they talk about a progressive income tax. These other states are taxing higher rates for people sometimes as low as $11,000, or at $25,000 they’re taxing at higher rates than what we’re taxing currently. So them saying they’re going to bring in an extra 1.5 to 3 billion dollars for this, there’s no way they can’t increase your taxes. I think the majority of the people in the state of Illinois, and the majority of the people in our district right here, would be adversely affected by this tax.”
Illinois residents still have a significant amount of time to consider this issue, because a switch from the state’s current flat income tax to a new, progressive income tax would require a constitutional amendment. If that were to happen, Illinois voters would be forced to wait until at least 2020 before that switch could be officially considered.