Lawmakers Set To Vote On State 'Millionaire's Tax'

May 18, 2015

A non-binding referendum on a so-called millionaires' tax got support from about 64 percent of Illinois voters during the last election. Now, state legislators are preparing to vote on it.

Credit State of Illinois

The measure would include an extra three-percent surcharge on all income over $1 million. The profit would go to education.

It's an idea that Speaker Michael Madigan tried to push before, but it was short on votes to get through the House.

Earlier this year, Madigan renewed his call for a millionaire's tax and said he hoped to get that support from Republicans in central and southern Illinois.

"So there are certain Republican representatives that represent counties where there's only one millionaire,” Madigan said. “So if this were to happen, why, their school districts would benefit greatly. And they ought to support the submittal of the resolution to the voters at the next general election."

There are enough Democrats in the House that a millionaires’ tax could pass without any GOP backing. Critics say it would hurt small businesses and chase high-earners out of Illinois.

Madigan's also scheduled votes this week on two of Gov. Bruce Rauner's priorities: overhauling workers' compensation, and lawsuit limits. But those are policies Democrats don't generally support, and Republicans say Madigan's putting it on the House agenda is a political stunt.