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In Offering Details Of Progressive Tax Plan, Gov Candidate Daiber Standing Alone

Bob Daiber
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
Gubernatorial candidate Bob Daiber speaks with reporters Thursday in the Illinois Statehouse.

Most of the Democrats running for governor of Illinois have long since come out in favor of a graduated income tax, where wealthier people pay a higher rate on income above a certain amount. But it wasn’t until Thursday that one candidate said what that amount ought to be.

The concept of a graduated income tax has been embraced by state Sen. Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzker, Chris Kennedy and Bob Daiber.

But only Daiber has gotten into details. He’s proposing a rate schedule, which would only increase taxes on income above a million dollars — and only by just over one percentage point.

“That’s the purpose of a progressive income tax," Daiber says, "to give the middle class a tax break, and the more affluent wage earners, they would pay more."

His plan would cut taxes for the vast majority of Illinoisans — knocking at least a percentage point off any household income less than $150,000.

A graduated income tax would require amending the Illinois Constitution, which mandates a flat tax. Illinois' individual income tax rate has been 4.95 percent since a bipartisan deal to end the budget stalemate this summer.

Daiber is proposing the following marginal tax rates:

  • $2,500 to $24,999 income — 1 percent
  • $25,000 to $44,999 income — 2.25 percent
  • $45,000 to $149,999 income — 3.75 percent
  • $150,000 to $999,999 income — 4.95 percent
  • $1 million or greater income — 6 percent

Daiber says his getting into specifics is a way to show leadership, “that this is just not something that I agree with, or something that I’m giving lip-service to, but rather something that I’m seriously working on.”
The Biss and Pritzker campaigns affirmed their support for the graduated tax but declined to offer their own rate proposals. The campaigns of Kennedy, Tio Hardiman and Robert Marshall did not respond to a request for comment.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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