ILLINOIS — Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday it may not be clear tonight if voters approved or rejected the progressive income tax amendment.
“I don’t know that we’ll know the results of that election tonight,” Pritzker said during a news conference in Chicago on Tuesday afternoon.
To pass, the ballot measure would need support from 60 percent of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election.
The progressive income tax amendment would scrap the state’s flat tax in favor of a graduated income tax structure that would have higher tax rates for higher earners. Pritzker has put more than $50 million of his own money into campaigns to support the passage of the amendment, which is projected to raise more than $3 billion for the state’s coffers. He has made the progressive income tax the centerpiece of his agenda.
Pritzker said Tuesday he was optimistic the progressive income tax would be approved.
Vote Yes for Fairness Chairman Quentin Fulks has also said the results might not known on election night.
“I’m anticipating probably a week to two weeks for us to know,” he told WBEZ.
Illinois has had a flat rate since the income tax was instituted in 1969. The existing flat rate is 4.95 percent. The Illinois Constitution requires any income tax be imposed at a single rate for all individual taxpayers, regardless of income level. Illinois is one of eight states that has a flat rate tax.
Lawmakers have already approved an initial rate structure that would go into effect if voters pass the amendment. The initial rates would raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000 to 7.75%. It would scale up to 7.99% at income more than $1 million, also retroactively taxing all lesser income at that higher rate once the filer earns that much. Those earning less than $250,000 a year would see modest tax cuts.
Business groups and business owners have opposed the amendment. Labor unions have supported it.
The Center Square – Brett Rowland h