Governor Approves 'Millionaire's Tax' As Advisory Referendum

Jul 29, 2014

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  This November, Illinois voters will be asked whether millionaires ought to pay more in taxes. The plan is being sold as a way to raise money for education. But opponents see more political motives.

Governor Pat Quinn signed the measure at a suburban elementary school on Tuesday.

The so-called "millionaire's tax" would rake an additional three percent off personal income greater than a million dollars ... with that money going exclusively to schools.

To be clear, even if voters approve the referendum, it doesn't mean the tax would actually happen. It's purely an advisory question. Democratic leaders failed at pushing the tax through the General Assembly this spring.

But Quinn says Illinois needs a tax system based on ability to pay.

"If you have that million dollars a year, and you have to pay a little bit more, you're helping everybody," he said.

The move has also been viewed as a political attack on Quinn's opponent, Republican Bruce Rauner, a wealthy investor who earned $53 million dollars in 2012.

Republicans say it's just a ploy to entice Democratic voters to the polls.