By Ben VanMetre -
State Sen. Don Harmon and advocates for his progressive tax proposal argue that the progressive income tax will provide tax relief for Illinois’ middle class.
Not only is the argument not true, but the progressive income tax was never about tax relief. The proof of that is in the numbers.
Under Illinois law, the individual income tax rate will be 3.75% in 2015. Under the progressive tax-hike plan introduced by Sen. Harmon — and endorsed by A Better Illinois — a higher 4.9% applies to income earned after $12,500.
Under Harmon’s proposal, anyone with a taxable income of more than $22,000 will see their overall state tax bill increase. That plan targets Illinois’ working- and middle-class residents.
So why didn’t Harmon use the sunset rate (3.75%) for $12,500 in his rate structure?
The answer: because part of the progressive tax hike scheme is about making as much of the temporary tax hike permanent as possible while still calling it “tax relief.”
And that’s true for all of the popular progressive tax plans instructed in Illinois recently:
- State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson’s plan makes permanent the 5% rate on income earned above $36,000.
- The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability’s plan makes permanent the 5% rate on income earned above $5,000.
- Sen. Harmon’s plan makes permanent nearly all of the 5% rate on income earned above $12,500.
It’s time for taxpayers in Illinois to know the truth about the progressive income tax. It’s not about tax relief — it’s about making the temporary tax hike permanent and further increasing taxes on the middle class.
Ben VanMetre is a Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst for Illinois Policy Institute