State House District 65 candidates discuss flat-vs.-graduated income tax

  • Richard Johnson, candidate Illinois House 65

    Richard Johnson, candidate Illinois House 65

  • Dan Ugaste Republican candidate for 65th District Representative.

    Dan Ugaste Republican candidate for 65th District Representative.

Updated 10/22/2018 11:01 AM

What is best: taxing everybody's income at the same rate, or having people who make more money pay a higher percentage?

The candidates for the state House District 65 differ, with their answers falling along party lines.


Republican Daniel Ugaste of Geneva opposes a graduated income tax. He said it will result in people paying more and that such an increase would encourage more people and businesses to leave Illinois, or to avoid moving here.

He said, as other Republicans running for state office have said this fall: "We have a spending problem in the state. We don't have a revenue problem."

He noted that the top 1 percent of wage-earners in Illinois account for about 23 percent of the state's income-tax receipts. (That top 1 percent are 52,221 taxpayers who reported a net income of $500,001 or more in 2016, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue.)

"I don't know that they aren't already paying a larger share than the rest of us," Ugaste said.

He also said political leaders in Springfield haven't used the most recent rate increase to do what was promised, in either paying down the state's backlog of bills or fixing its pension obligations.

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Democrat Richard Johnson of Elgin said he is willing to consider a graduated income tax.

"We need to make sure everybody is paying their fair share," he said.

He disputed the idea that a graduated tax would drive people out of Illinois, saying such taxes work in other states, including nearby Minnesota. Of the 41 states that have income taxes, only nine have flat tax rates.

But his support would depend on details of any proposal, he said, such as how the income brackets are set.

"If it doesn't result in, say, 90 percent of the residents of District 65 receiving an income-tax cut, I would not favor it," Johnson said.

The 65th House District includes parts of Geneva, St. Charles, Campton Hills, Plato Center, South Elgin, Elgin, Hampshire and Huntley. Current state Rep. Steven Andersson, a Geneva Republican, is not seeking re-election.

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