Illinois House Speaker Clarifies Comments On Income Tax Increase

Dec 9, 2015

A year ago, Illinois' income tax rate fell by 25-percent. The top Democrat in the Illinois House is suggesting it go back up, according to news headlines...but that's not what he meant to convey.

Following a rare speech at the City Club of Chicago, longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan was asked this question about the state budget:

"How high do you think taxes need to go?"

Madigan tried to avoid getting specific, saying at first:

"Alright, let me avoid creating a headline for tomorrow's newspaper..." This drew a laugh from the audience.

He did it anyway.

"A good place to begin, good place to begin would be the level we were at before the income tax expired. And starting there you can go in whatever direction you want to go." The audience laughed again.

Madigan’s office issued a statement later, saying he has no plans to introduce legislation to raise the income tax rate. He says headlines to the contrary are misleading.

Illinois raised the income tax rate in 2011, but only temporarily. It partially rolled back at the start of 2015, falling from 5 percent to 3.75 percent for individuals.

That's contributed a deficit in the state budget.