“Millionaires tax” falls short of votes in Illinois House

SPRINGFIELD — A constitutional amendment to tax millionaires to fund education came up short Thursday in the Illinois House of Representatives.

The measure, which needs 71 “yes” votes to pass through the chamber came up three votes short, with a 68-43-3 breakdown. Consideration for the measure in the House has been postponed.

State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) notes that when voters were asked via an advisory referendum about a 3 percent tax on income over $1 million, their answer was clear.

“The question was asked would you agree or disagree with the concept of taxing people with incomes over $1 million to help public education, and I believe it was close to 70 percent of the people answered that question ‘yes,’” Currie said.

The actual result was 60 percent voting yes, and less than 35 percent voting against it.

Despite public support, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association President Greg Baise says the tax would lead to richer Illinoisans moving out of the state. “I respect the vote of the people that occurred last November. It’s an easy vote to say yes to,” Baise said.

The proposal, which passed the House Revenue and Finance Committee on Wednesday, will face an uphill climb before it could be sent to the voters as a 2016 ballot question.

To pass the constitutional amendment through the House will require 71 “yes” votes, which is exactly the number of Democrats in the House. Republican leaders have said that no Republicans will support this. The Constitution, as it stands, requires a flat income tax rate.