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Republicans, Pritzker fight over Lt. Governor’s statement on graduated income tax

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Pritzker administration is facing new backlash from those against the graduated income tax amendment. The criticism comes after Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton hinted at a 20% tax increase if voters don’t approve the governor’s plan.

“To adequately address the budget crisis under our current tax system, lawmakers will be forced to consider raising income taxes on all Illinois residents by at least 20%, regardless of their level of income,” Stratton said Thursday.

The debate many are having about Stratton’s statement: Sharing facts or using a scare tactic?

A 20% increase would hike Illinois’ current flat tax rate of 4.95% to 5.94%. Stratton told virtual Vote Yes For Fairness rally participants that the increase could deepen the state’s inequities. She also emphasized more residents would leave Illinois.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin didn’t take the message lightly. “Here’s the message in no uncertain words: If you do not pass my tax hike amendment, we will annihilate you with a 20% tax increase across the board when we return to session.”

Gov. JB Pritzker doesn’t think Stratton’s comment was a threat to push voters to support his tax amendment. However, he noted residents have three choices:

  • 20% tax increase
  • 15% cut in funding for state agencies
  • Graduated income tax amendment

“These are the ones the Republicans are leaving you with: The ideas that you’re going to raise taxes on the middle class and working-class or that you’re gonna cut the education, public safety, healthcare services that people really rely upon,” Pritzker added.

GOP: “Stop raising taxes”

Still, House Republicans say the administration isn’t considering meaningful reforms or spending reductions and efficiencies within state agencies. They also feel Pritzker is ignoring a constant message from residents.

“They’re sending a message to Springfield that says stop coming back to Illinois taxpayers every couple of years to raise income taxes because you refuse to deal with the underlying issues that are causing so much hardship and so much pressure for families across the state of Illinois,” explained Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon).

The Coalition To Stop The Proposed Tax Hike Amendment says it’s clear state lawmakers only understand how to raise taxes.

“If you need more proof Springfield has too much power and can’t be trusted look no further than telling voters to support a tax hike amendment or politicians will continue to raise them for you,” said Coalition Spokesperson Lissa Druss.

Vote Yes For Fairness says Republicans are lying about Pritzker’s plan because they don’t have a defense.

“The Fair Tax is the only option that works for all our families without forcing them to face the consequences of devastating service cuts or a tax increase,” stated Vote Yes For Fairness Chairman Quentin Fulks.

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Mike Miletich

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