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A Graduated Income Tax for Illinois

Categories: Get Involved,Past Studies & Advocacy Programs,Study Topics,Where We Stand

LWVIL is taking a leadership role in a renewed effort to amend the Illinois Constitution to allow a graduated income tax. Working with coalition partners, in particular the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, trained League members have started going out to educate local Leagues and their communities to explain the need and process.

Scope and Focus

The LWVIL Graduated Rate Income Tax Project will educate Illinoisians about the issues of a progressive as opposed to a flat tax; work to lobby for a bill to change the Illinois constitution, and; ultimately support and promote the approval of the amendment which will permit the graduated tax rate in Illinois.

Elgin Area Tentative Timeline:

Spring of 2013 Legislative Session

Conduct legislative reviews in collaboration with collar county Leagues (Palatine, Central Kane, DuPage Leagues) leading with the graduated income tax question: It is well known that Illinois is facing a fiscal crisis, much of it due to a regressive and unsustainable revenue system. Illinois is one of four remaining flat tax states and research shows that those states using a graduated rate income tax system have healthier economies than Illinois. Would you support putting a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot allowing a graduated rate income tax and giving your constituents the opportunity to choose the tax system they feel best serves Illinois?

It is important League education locally, to know where our lawmakers stand on our priority issues but more importantly in this case, we need to convince legislators by our presence and strong relationships among Leagues and coalition partners to place the measure on the November 2014 ballot.

Summer/Fall of 2013

  • Education for League members – possible panel / round table discussions following power point presentation and training for additional public educators/speakers
  • Public education opportunities to begin if resolution to place on ballot has been completed (if General Assembly has not yet successfully voted to place on ballot – and judging political climate, public education may need to wait until fall of 2014) and continue through election of 2014 to build strong support among Illinois voters.

January 2014 Legislative Session

Second chance to get binding referendum resolution passed by the General Assembly (to be placed on the November 2014 ballot.

Fall of 2014

Public education on ballot question begins in earnest for positive vote. The amendment must be approved by three-fifths of those voting on the amendment or by a majority of those voting in the election. Efforts to educate voters are crucial at this point since, Constitutional amendments are on a separate ballot so voters must be aware of the legislation.