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Lawmaker Calls For Graduated Income Tax

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Advocates have been moving for months to give Illinois a progressive income tax. Instead of the same flat rate for everyone, those who make more would pay more.

Backers of the plan argue most Illinoisans would get a tax cut.

Senator Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, says this provides the state a new choice, instead of extending the 2011 income tax hike or making deep cuts to services.

"We can continue an unfair, regressive tax at 5 percent, or we can cut government services, the services upon which folks rely by 20 percent across-the-board," Harmon said.

Under the plan, it's estimated the state would take in $23 million less than this year's revenue, something advocate Emily Miller says isn't necessarily a bad thing. Miller is with Voices for Illinois Children, which is among the groups pushing for a progressive tax.

"These are not good times. Families need tax cuts and government needs to be able to operate efficiently," Miller said.

Implementing a progressive tax would require amending the Illinois Constitution. If approved by the House and Senate, voters would have the final say in November.