Millionaire tax question has grammar flaw

2014-06-17T00:00:00Z Millionaire tax question has grammar flawKurt Erickson Lee Springfield Bureau nwitimes.com
June 17, 2014 12:00 am  • 

SPRINGFIELD | A proposal designed to boost spending on education in Illinois likely would get an "F" from a sharp-eyed grammar teacher.

In May, members of the House and Senate agreed to place a nonbinding referendum on the November general election ballot asking voters if they support raising taxes on millionaires.

The additional revenue would go toward schools.

But, despite a series of debates on the idea, no one apparently caught the improper use of the word "their" in the text of the proposed ballot question.

The measure asks, "Should the Illinois Constitution be amended to require that each school district receive additional revenue, based on their number of students, from an additional 3% tax on income greater than one million dollars?"

Proper grammar calls for the word "its" instead of "their" because each school district is singular.

A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, who sponsored the proposal, said he was unaware of any effort underway to fix the flaw before it goes on the ballot.

"I've not heard anybody raise the issue," Steve Brown said.

A spokesman for Gov. Pat Quinn said the administration had no comment Monday.

The governor could use his veto powers to try to fix the proposal, but the General Assembly is not in session again until after the Nov. 4 election. That means lawmakers would have to return to the Capitol for a special legislative session in order to sign off on any potential changes.

The mistake even got past Democratic state Rep. Sue Scherer, of Decatur, a retired school teacher.

Scherer said Monday she would do some digging into the issue.

"I'll be happy to look into it," Scherer said.

The legislation is House Bill 3816.

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