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Madigan Talks Taxes; Suggests Illinois Income Tax Rate Return To Five Percent

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan standing on House floor arms folded

A year ago, Illinois' income tax rate fell by 25-percent. The top Democrat in the Illinois House is suggesting it go back up.

Following a rare speech at the City Club of Chicago Wednesday, longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan was asked:"How high do you think taxes need to go?".

Madigan tried to avoid getting specific, prompting laughter from the audience by initially saying "alright, let me avoid creating a headline for tomorrow's newspaper."

He made headlines, anyway, saying "a good place to begin, good place to begin would be the level we were at before the income tax expired," he said.

The audience laughed again after he went on to say "and starting there you can go in whatever direction you want to go." 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.

Madigan has thus far avoided getting into details about state taxes, other than saying that he believes solving Illinois' fiscal issues will require a combination of cuts and new revenue. He also continues to advocate for a constitutional amendment allowing a tax surcharge on income over a million dollars, with proceeds going to fund state schools.

Many Republicans, including Gov. Bruce Rauner, say they will support a tax hike or new taxes, but only once Democrats agree to their pro-business, anti-union proposals.

Lawmakers are deadlocked, leaving Illinois in its sixth month without a budget.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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