Illinois taxpayers could soon see their state income tax rates jump and smokers would shell out $1 more a pack under a Democratic proposal in Springfield.
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, (D) Chicago, says the deal would boost the 3% income tax rate to 5.25% for four years. After the four years, it would go back down to 3.75%. The money raised in the first four years of the tax hike would help pay off the state's backlog of overdue bills. Then, the increase would go to help ailing schools. It's estimated the higher taxes would bring in about $7.5 billion a year.
The tax on cigarettes, now 98 cents a pack, would jump to $1.98. The money would be used for education.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Cullerton all hope the General Assembly passes the proposal by the end of the current session ending January 12. After that, they lose some of their Democratic majority.