PI Original Josh Kalven Saturday May 30th, 2009, 1:45pm

Temporary Tax Plan Advances, With Some Relief Included (UPDATED)

The Tribune is reporting that the proposal to temporarily increase the income tax rate from 3 percent to 4.5 percent moved out of committee this afternoon:

The proposal, approved with all Democratic votes at
a House committee, would generate $4.5 billion a ...

The Tribune is reporting that the proposal to temporarily increase the income tax rate from 3 percent to 4.5 percent moved out of committee this afternoon:

The proposal, approved with all Democratic votes at a House committee, would generate $4.5 billion a year to help stave off massive cuts in state services, according to House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago).

Gov. Pat Quinn's chief of staff, Jerry Stermer, testifed in favor of the so-called temporary tax increase plan at the House Revenue Committee meeting.

Without help, Stermer said, education, social services, health care and other public duties will "suffer serious consequences."

As we noted yesterday, the original version of this temporary plan included no relief for low-income taxpayers -- a serious problem considering that the tax structure in Illinois already puts a disproportionate burden on them.  The version that advanced today, however, would permanently double the Earned Income Tax Credit.  

According to a separate Tribune article, Sen. James Meeks' alternate plan (SB 750) seems to still have some legs on the Senate side (H/T Capitol Fax):

Senate Democrats have predicted a tax increase would have an easier time in their chamber and on Friday an even bigger tax plan emerged, courtesy of Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago).

The proposal -- which could raise upward of $6 billion -- would increase the income tax by 67 percent and expand the sales tax on services such as dry cleaning, video rental, dating services and carpet cleaning. The theory is that a larger tax bite would mean fewer cuts.

It's not a "theory." It's reality -- and the responsible thing to do.

UPDATE: Capitol Fax has posted video of Meeks discussing his bill (he claims to have 28 of the 30 votes necessary for passage in the Senate).  In the clip below, Meeks explains why his plan is better than the governor's: 

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