Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s push for an amendment to the state constitution allowing for a transition from a flat income tax rate to a graduated tax structure was defeated by voters this week.
The current flat tax rate is 4.95%, which Pritzker has warned may need to be raised if the measure were defeated as the state government looks for ways to raise revenue.
Under the proposal, the top rate for joint filers with incomes more than $250,000 would have reached 7.75%; 7.85% on incomes more than $500,000 and 7.99% for people making more than $1 million.
The shift to a progressive tax structure was projected to raise $3.6 billion.
The measure needed an approval rate of at least 60% to pass.
Pritzker donated tens of millions dollars to the campaign for the amendment, which was opposed by some prominent business leaders – including billionaire Ken Griffin.
Griffin argued the measure would wind up costing all families more, not just the wealthy.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been estimated that Illinois could face a budget shortfall of $7 billion over the coming two years.
Many other states are in similar situations, and officials are looking to tax increases to help raise revenues.
The Nashville City Council, for example, approved a budget that contained what it acknowledged would be a “painful” property tax increase on its residents.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has indicated he is not opposed to raising taxes on the rich, though New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it should be a last resort.