Syverson opposes graduated tax, argues for Constitutional protections of middle class

On May 1, the Democrat-majority voted to advance legislation proposing to change the income tax structure in Illinois. 

Senate Joint Constitutional Amendment (SJRCA) 1 would place a referendum on the 2020 General Election ballot asking voters if they support moving Illinois from a flat tax to a graduated tax structure.

“Since the inception of this proposal, no consideration has been given to long-term protections for our middle class taxpayers,” said State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford). “The Democrat-majority is promising short-term relief, but steadfastly refusing to put in place the Constitutional protections needed to ensure our middle class won’t suffer down the road. If they really want to protect our taxpayers, support the Constitutional safeguards needed to guarantee the middle class won’t be left to foot the bill.”

Senator Syverson noted that out of the 23 states that implemented a progressive tax structure, there are 18 instances in which states have lowered the threshold for the highest tax rate.

“In our neighboring states of Iowa and Missouri, the highest tax brackets fall below 75,000 dollars—with Missouri’s threshold topping out at a mere 9,000 dollars. This just underscores the dangers of adopting a graduate tax structure without Constitutional protections,” said Syverson. “Just yesterday, the Senate Executive Committee heard testimony on rates connected with this proposed graduated tax structure and, as we feared, we’re already seeing rates change and thresholds lowering from the figures we we’re considering less than a month ago.”

On May 1, Democrats voted to advance Senate Bill 687, a graduated tax package lowering the maximum rate of the progressive tax structure when compared to the Administration’s original figures.

When considering the possibilities of future tax increases under a graduated tax system, Sen. Syverson noted that the Democrats’ unwillingness to include additional taxpayer safeguards—which even California has adopted—is a major concern. Senate Republicans proposed such a safeguard when they filed SJRCA12, which would require a 2/3 vote for the approval of any future income tax increases.

“If they are telling citizens this is the last tax increase that will ever be needed, then why not add a simple clause to require a higher threshold to pass future income taxes. Their refusal to add safeguards clearly shows that they know taxes on the middle class will be going up if the constitutional amendment passes,” said Syverson.

SJRCA 1 passed by a vote of 40 to 19 and Senate Bill 687 passed by a vote of 36 to 22. Both measures will now advance to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Dave Syverson

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