News Local/State

Urbana Lawmaker Re-Files Graduated Income Tax Proposal

By Jim Meadows

A bill that would allow a graduated income tax in Illinois has once again been filed in the Illinois House.

State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana) has re-filed the proposed state constitutional amendment that she first filed in 2011. Illinois’ income tax is a flat one. Jakobsson’s amendment (HJRCA002) would allow, but not require a graduated income tax for individuals, with higher tax rates for those with higher incomes. Corporations would be exempt.

Jakobsson said Illinois needs a graduated income tax as an option to raise more revenue, especially if the tax hike approved by lawmakers in 2011 is allowed to expire.

“What are our options?” said Jakobsson. “In 2015, there could be a compelling argument to extend the income tax increase that was put into place, or cut more services. And we’ve already seen the results of having to cut services.”

Jakobsson’s graduated tax amendment does not set specific rates, which she says sets it apart from a previous proposal introduced a few years ago by another House lawmaker.

"The representative who had that one actually had specific amounts and specific designations for the additional revenue,” said Jakobsson. “And this bill doesn’t do that. The state needs additional revenue, and this would be a very fair way to do it.

While her bill doesn’t lay out specific figures, Jakobsson says that under a graduated income tax structure, some taxpayers could actually see lower tax rates.

Jakobsson’s own previous graduated tax amendment never came up for a floor vote, but it managed to get out of the House Rules Committee and into the Revenue and Finance Committee.

The measure’s chances faded away last May, due to a General Assembly rule requiring the tabling of proposed constitutional amendments six months before the general election. But before that happened, Jakobsson’s proposal picked up the support of House Assistant Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Curry as a chief co-sponsor.

Jakobsson said that support has inspired her to present a graduated income tax amendment to lawmakers again this year.