The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Illinois

March 21, 2014

Illinois speaker proposes tax on millionaires

(Continued)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. —

Another Republican criticized the proposal as "a desperate attempt" to divide Illinois residents. "The timing is, I'm sure, no coincidence," said Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine.

Madigan denied that the proposal was a shot at Rauner — as a lawyer in private practice, the tax would apply even to himself "in a good year." He argued that he has long been a supporter of education funding.

"I've been here for 44 years, and I've voted for every tax for education," Madigan said.

Quinn wouldn't express an opinion on the initiative, saying only that he would "take a look at the details." But David Yepsen, a political analyst at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University said he expected Democrats to be "doing lots of this sort of thing between now and November."

"It's designed to highlight Bruce Rauner's wealth and it's designed to underscore Democrats' populist message," Yepsen said.

Quinn, who has made a political career as a populist and defender of the middle class, has increased taxes and pushed for raising the minimum wage. Rauner, who says the best way to help working people is to improve the business climate, wants to curtail government unions much like Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker did.

Quinn has repeatedly noted Rauner's wealth in public appearances, and criticized him for changing his position on the minimum wage. Rauner accuses Quinn of "class warfare."

Madigan wouldn't disclose his position on the state's temporary income tax, which would drop from 5 percent to 3.75 in January if allowed to expire, nor would he express an opinion on an initiative to get Illinois to adopt a graduated income tax.

The constitutional amendment would have to be approved by supermajorities in the House and Senate to make it to the November election ballot, where voters would decide whether to change the Illinois Constitution.

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