The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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April 30, 2014

Illinois Senate adjourns without vote on tax plan

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An effort to let Illinois voters consider a proposed overhaul of the state’s income tax system died Tuesday in the General Assembly, but there’s still a strong possibility the November ballot could include an unprecedented four constitutional amendments.

The Senate adjourned without taking a vote on Sen. Don Harmon’s progressive income tax plan on the final day lawmakers could take action ahead of a May 4 deadline to get constitutional amendments on the general election ballot.

Harmon said he had support in the Senate for a graduated income tax, which would require wealthier residents to pay higher rate. But majority Democrats wouldn’t risk an election-year tax vote until they had assurances of similar House endorsement, a prospect that fell short.

“It’s a big decision and some folks still had questions they couldn’t quite answer to their own satisfaction,” said Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat. “With a little more time and education we’re going to be able to convince a supermajority in both chambers.”

A Republican measure to limit statewide executives such as the governor to two terms met a similar fate. Shot down in a Senate subcommittee, it served its purpose by allowing the GOP to campaign against Democrats, including Gov. Pat Quinn, for opposing term limits.

Four other proposed amendments could meet voters at the polls on Nov. 4. That would be unprecedented in a state where voters have been asked about amending the 44-year-old constitution only 21 times, approving 11 of them, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau.

The General Assembly approved two amendment questions — one to strengthen crime victims’ rights and one designed to stamp out voter suppression.

Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, announced that a group he organized to limit legislators to eight years in office, change the size of the General Assembly and limit lawmakers’ ability to override a gubernatorial veto today would deliver enough citizen signatures to get it on the ballot.

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