Sen. Stewart: Senate forces through higher taxes, without GOP support

Senator Brian Stewart released the following statement May 1 after Senate Democrat leaders muscled through a constitutional amendment and legislation that sets rates for Governor J. B. Pritzker’s controversial plan to fundamentally change the state’s income tax system and increase taxes by an additional $3.4 billion per year.

“My Senate Republican colleagues and I have real concerns about this new tax system and how easily rates could be changed in the future,” Senator Stewart said. “The process to change the system was just introduced a few weeks ago, and the initial tax rates are already changing. Who’s to say they won’t change again? We have said that any plan must have protections for middle-income families, but the sponsors of this tax increase have not listened to our requests.

“Early on, our new Governor promised that he would work with lawmakers in a bipartisan manner; however, this graduated income tax system is just one more incident when he has not listened to our concerns or accepted our suggestions. His actions do not reflect a spirit of compromise,” Senator Stewart said. “Why should we trust his latest claims? The citizens of Illinois deserve more than empty promises.”

Illinois’ state income tax is currently a flat 4.95 percent rate for all residents.  Changing from a flat income tax to a graduated income tax requires amending the Illinois Constitution.  If approved by lawmakers in both chambers, the Constitutional Amendment would need to be put to Illinois voters in the next general election, which would be November 2020.