How 58th District candidates differ on graduated income tax

  • Republican Rick Lesser, left, and Democrat Bob Morgan are running for the 58th state House District seat.

    Republican Rick Lesser, left, and Democrat Bob Morgan are running for the 58th state House District seat.

Updated 9/28/2018 4:57 PM

The candidates for the 58th District seat in the state House have differing views on a proposed graduated income tax for Illinois residents.

A graduated income tax system, sometimes called a progressive tax, assesses wealthier individuals at a higher rate. Illinois now taxes everyone's income using the same percentage.


Democratic candidate Bob Morgan of Deerfield said he'd support switching to a graduated income tax system if it would reduce property taxes.

Republican Fredric Bryan "Rick" Lesser of Lake Bluff opposed creating a graduated income tax system in Illinois, saying he doesn't believe lawmakers would trim property taxes if such a system is implemented.

"That promise has been contrary to my experience as an Illinois taxpayer," Lesser said. "I have found Illinois taxes go only up."

Morgan and Lesser discussed taxes and other issues during a group interview with the Daily Herald and in candidate questionnaires. They'll face off Nov. 6.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker wants to change Illinois to a graduated system. He hasn't revealed the tax brackets he envisions.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

Those brackets and the rates for a graduated system would need to be set by lawmakers. The move also would require voters to approve amending the Illinois Constitution to allow the tax.

Morgan, a lawyer, is open to the idea of a graduated state income tax. But his support would require "a direct, correlated reduction of our property taxes."

"I think they go hand in hand," Morgan said. "I don't think we should do it in isolation."

Lesser, a lawyer and a former Lake Bluff trustee, said he doesn't oppose a graduated income tax in concept. But he fears it would result in a greater overall tax burden for middle-class families if enacted here.

"I have absolutely no confidence that the General Assembly would raise income taxes and then find some equal, dollar-for-dollar, corresponding way of reducing property taxes," Lesser said. "I don't think that's a realistic concept. It certainly has not been my experience with state government, and I think most of my fellow voters probably feel the same way."

The 58th District includes parts of Lake and Cook counties. Incumbent Scott Drury, a Highwood Democrat, isn't seeking re-election.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.