Senate Republicans joined together in support of a resolution to oppose a graduated tax system that has been proposed by some candidates for statewide office. Illinois’ current flat tax system levies one percentage for all earners, though because it is a percentage, actual tax bills are higher for higher incomes. A graduated tax system levies multiple rates for different income levels, which is often seen as a policy that discourages advancement and growth. Such a change, if passed, would likely be the last straw for many high income, high state income tax payers, accelerating the exodus of high tax payers from the state of Illinois to more friendly states.
Sponsored by every member of the Senate Republican Caucus, Senate Resolution 1590 notes the importance and stability provided to employers and individuals alike by the current flat-tax system, allowing them to plan and grow in the Land of Lincoln. Especially when considering a tax burden ranked as one of the highest in the nation along with sky-high workers compensation costs, the state’s current flat tax system has often been cited as one of the few reasons for employers to add jobs in Illinois. The Illinois Constitution would have to be changed to allow for a graduated tax. While a graduated tax bill may initially propose reasonable rates, once the Constitution is amended, lawmakers would then be able to set the various rates and tiers at whatever they wanted.
As an example of the danger of a graduated tax system, Senate Republicans noted the income levels and graduated rates seen in the state of California:
$0 to $16,029 – 1 percent;
$16,030 to $38,001 – 2 percent;
$38,002 to $59,977 – 4 percent;
$59,978 to $83,257 – 6 percent;
$83,258 to $105,223 – 8 percent;
$105,224 to $537,499 – 9.3 percent;
$537,500 to $644,997 – 10.3 percent;
$644,998 to $999,999 – 11.3 percent;
$1,000,000 to $1,074,995 – 12.3 percent;
$1,074,996 or greater – 13.3 percent.