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Tax the Rich to Benefit Schools

One of the top Democrats in the Illinois legislature is calling for a "millionaire's tax."

House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) said the money would help fund K-12 schools.

We've struggled with the funding of schools since the financial meltdown...

The tax would apply to all income over $1 million a year. Madigan said he expects that would generate about $500 per student -- and that's just how the money would be distributed: per student, to wealthy and poor school districts alike.

“We've struggled with the funding of schools since the financial meltdown in '07 and '08," said Madigan. 

Madigan said millionaires are better equipped to support education in Illinois. And, as a wealthy lawyer himself, he should know.

“Do I make a million dollars in a year? To answer your question: in a good year I would be subject to this.” 

Because the tax would require changing the Illinois Constitution, voters would have final say at the November election if lawmakers pass the measure this spring.

A leading anti-tax group was quick to denounce the proposal, saying it would drive up Illinois' already-high unemployment.

Brian Mackey covers Illinois state government and politics from the WUIS Statehouse bureau. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. He can be reached at (217) 206-6020.