Harmon moves Illinois one step closer to fair income tax

harmon 041019Plan would tax lower incomes at lower levels, higher incomes at higher levels

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois is one step closer to amending its Constitution to allow for a fair tax after Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) passed a Constitutional amendment out of committee today.

The proposed Constitutional amendment would remove language requiring a flat tax and allow the General Assembly to set lower rates for those making less and higher rates for the wealthiest Illinoisans.

“Our current tax system is punitive to middle class and working families in Illinois because it imposes a greater burden on them than on the wealthiest in our state,” Harmon said. “With a fair tax, we are simply asking top earners to pay their fair share.”

Illinois is one of only nine states in the country to impose a flat tax. Harmon has worked to implement a fair tax for nearly 10 years, saying the state needs more flexibility in its tax structure.

“We have no nimbleness in our tax policy,” Harmon said. “A flat tax gives us little ability to respond appropriately to an economic downturn. Our current system is antiquated, and a majority of Illinoisans have indicated that they want to change it. We need to give them the opportunity to take this vote.”

The proposed amendment does not include specific tax rates, but Harmon said legislation to set rates will be introduced later this legislative session. Gov. JB Pritzker announced proposed rates earlier this year that would raise an estimated $3.4 billion in revenue by raising taxes on only the top 3 percent of earners in Illinois.

“The only other options we have to balance our budget are to raise taxes dramatically on everyone or make deep, draconian cuts to vital state services,” Harmon said. “A fair tax will not only help us fix our state’s finances but also give us long-term stability.”

If the amendment passes both the Senate and the House with a supermajority vote, it will be placed as a question on the November 2020 ballot.

Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 passed the Senate Executive Committee 12-5 today and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Sen. President Harmon


President of the Senate
39th District
Years served:
2003 - Present

Committee assignments: Executive; Judiciary; Subcommittee on Election Law (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Const. Amendments (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Business Entities (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Attorney; born 1966, in Oak Park; graduated St. Ignatius High School; B.A., Knox College; J.D. and M.B.A., University of Chicago; married (wife, Teresa), has three children: Don, Frances, and Margaret.

Associated Representative(s):
Camille Y. Lilly
Kathleen Willis