Education

State Journal

March 03, 2004 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Taxing Plan

Taking money from the rich and turning it over to the not-so-rich is a notion as rooted in the folklore of Robin Hood as the language of economic textbooks.

Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn is the latest marksman with such a target in his sights: bringing more money to the state’s public schools.

The Democrat is backing the “Taxpayer Action Amendment,” a March 16 straw- ballot referendum that would impose a 3 percent surtax on the adjusted gross income of residents topping $250,000 a year.

The plan would raise $1.15 billion annually, Mr. Quinn contends. Half that new revenue would be given to all Illinois property owners in annual tax rebates of a bit more than $200. The other 50 percent would go to Illinois’ 896 school districts, in amounts equaling roughly $277 per student, proposes Mr. Quinn, who is the measure’s lead proponent.

The referendum, which is on the ballot in about 39 counties, townships, and other municipalities (an area that includes roughly 5.6 million of 12.4 million state residents) is only advisory, meaning it will have no direct impact on state law, said Claude Walker, a spokesman for Mr. Quinn.

But the lieutenant governor hopes a strong showing would prompt lawmakers to make the changes through a constitutional amendment during this legislative session, Mr. Walker said. If the lawmakers took that action, the proposed amendment could then go before voters in a referendum—one with real constitutional impact—in November.

The signature of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat who has pledged not to raise taxes, would not be required for the amendment to take effect, Mr. Walker said. The governor’s office did not return a call for comment on the measure.

Mr. Quinn, who was elected separately from the governor, has argued that Illinois taxes millionaires at a lower rate than do neighboring states. “For too long, Illinois’ unfair tax laws have protected a few thousand millionaires,” Mr. Quinn said last fall in a statement announcing his effort, “at the expense of millions of wage earners who live from paycheck to paycheck.”

But James L. Tobin, the president of National Taxpayers of Illinois, a Chicago-based watchdog organization, opposes the proposal.

“It’s a tax increase on the most productive people in Illinois,” said Mr. Tobin, who is also skeptical that the money would be directed toward improving schools’ academic performance. “It will chase the most productive people out of Illinois.”

—Sean Cavanagh

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls
Science K-12 Essentials Forum How To Teach STEM Problem Solving Skills to All K-12 Students
Join experts for a look at how experts are integrating the teaching of problem solving and entrepreneurial thinking into STEM instruction.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Modernizing Principal Support: The Road to More Connected and Effective Leaders
When principals are better equipped to lead, support, and maintain high levels of teaching and learning, outcomes for students are improved.
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: April 27, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 6, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 30, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
6 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 16, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
7 min read