SPRINGFIELD | Backers of a plan to change Illinois' income tax structure say they've collected more than 150,000 signatures from supporters and hope to get even more as they continue their petition drive into the spring.
The effort's being backed by the group A Better Illinois, which wants lawmakers to put a constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot, according to a report in the (Springfield) State Journal-Register.
The group hopes to change Illinois' "flat" income tax structure, in which everyone pays the same rate, to a graduated or "progressive" tax, in which higher earners pay a larger percentage of their income than lower earners.
Supporters say a graduated income tax like those used by the federal government and about three dozen states is fairest. They say most Illinois residents would get a tax cut and that the financially struggling state would take in more money because the wealthiest earners would pay more.
"If I make $20,000 a year, I should not be taxed at the same rate as someone who makes $120,000 a year," said Teresa Haley, president of the Springfield NAACP.
Opponents argue that it would be a tax increase in disguise.
Illinois' Constitution currently requires a flat income tax. Changing it would require a three-fifths vote in the Legislature and approval by voters. Legislation for the amendment as well as resolutions opposing any changes have already been introduced in both the state House and Senate.