Could Scott Lee Cohen derail efforts to institute a progressive
income tax in Illinois? On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Tom Cross
(R-Oswego) sent a letter
to Democratic leaders warning that the party's legislative leaders
weren't being judicious enough in choosing which constitutional
amendments to push for this year. By law, the General Assembly can't submit
more than three proposed amendments for any one election. House Speaker
Michael Madigan has already introduced two himself -- one that would abolish the lieutenant governor's office -- the result of the Cohen debacle -- and another requiring
minimum years of legal practice before becoming a judge. Assuming
Madigan allows votes on his own measures, that leaves just one spot on
the ballot. The Republicans are worried an amendment establishing an
independent commission to draw future legislative maps could be pushed
aside. We're worried an amendment removing the mandate that Illinois' income tax rate remains flat could see the same fate.
If Madigan bumps the progressive income tax proposal off the ballot and then decides not to pursue HB 174, he can kiss his base goodbye.