Illinois Speaker calls for education tax on millionaires

By Alex Davis |

Published 03/21 2014 09:06AM

Updated 03/21 2014 05:48PM

Update: 5:35 pm
ILLINOIS -- Millionaires could be forced to open their pocketbooks to pay for education. Some state lawmakers are pushing for an added tax on the state's wealthy. WCIA-3's Alex Davis keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

Taking from millionaires to fund public schools would be a tax on incomes topping $1 million. Keep in mind, that's on top of the state's flat tax.

Family means the world to Edward Capalla.

"If I were a millionaire, I'd definitely think of it as part of my gift to our children."

The father of two wants to give his kids the best of everything, including a good education. But, with looming education cuts next year, their school could suffer. K - 12 public school in Illinois could be funded even less.

"The state should make it a priority to have those programs funded well."

That's where a new House plan comes in. House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) wants millionaires to help fit the bill.

"We feel that the millionaires in Illinois are the ones better-equipped to support education more than others. That's why we drafted it the way we drafted it."

Madigan wants to tack on a 3% surcharge to incomes topping $1 million. That would go to school districts for per-pupil spending.

"And, they'll be grateful for this opportunity to support lower education."

It's something Capalla thinks would be good for the state. He says, if Illinois isn't paying, someone needs to.

"That'd be great for, of course, our schools. They'll have all the necessary funding for those programs and our kids would definitely benefit from all the improvements."

Just like Madigan, he thinks their tax would be a gift of goodwill.

"If I were a millionaire, I'd definitely think of it as part of my gift to our children."

Speaker Madigan says this added tax could generate some $1 billion for school districts. Opponents say, the state's income tax is already too high.

Illinois wouldn't be the first state in the Midwest to pass a measure like this. Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin have a similar tax in place. Illinois' would be less than those states, however, it would be higher than the tax in Indiana and Michigan.
Original: 9:06 am
SPRINGFIELD -- House Speaker Michael Madigan is calling for a tax on millionaires. He says a proposed income tax surcharge would help fund education in Illinois.

Madigan says in 2011, 13,675 people in Illinois had adjusted gross incomes of more than $1 million. Madigan wants to add a 3% surcharge to those incomes.

He says the money raised would add-up to about $550 for each student in grades K-12, raising a total of $1 billion a year for education.

A constitutional amendment would have to be approved in the House and Senate in order to make it to the November ballot. Then voters would decide whether to change the Illinois constitution.

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