Democrats challenged state Rep. Dan Brady, R-Normal, during a sparsely attended town hall meeting Tuesday about a proposal for a graduated income tax.
Brady said he opposes a constitutional amendment to allow a graduated income tax to stabilize state finances.
Sarah Breeden and Rachael Lund of Normal repeatedly asked Brady what he proposed instead.
Brady did not reply with specifics.
“What am I doing to help? I’m having this discussion here tonight. In my experience when taxes were raised in the past it did not go toward what it was supposed to do,” said Brady.
He referenced lottery money which was intended years ago to solve school funding inadequacy and a past income tax increase which was not supposed to support new programs, but did.
Brady and state Rep. Randy Frese, R-Quincy, said they also did not trust lawmakers to leave the proposed tax brackets alone. Neither detailed other measures to address the deficit.
Andrew Nelms, the state director for Americans for Prosperity and a panelist, suggested the state can pass legislation to improve the business climate and grow revenue, through workers' compensation changes, pension system changes, and other measures. Nelms did not suggest how long it would take for those measures to have an impact.
Panelists also did not address how to reduce the state structural deficit until then, though Breeden and Lund pressed on that question as well.
“If you want your taxes raised, go right out and advocate for that. That’s your right. But I have constituents that don’t want their taxes raised,” said Brady.
Another audience member suggested a different constitutional amendment, one to allow pension cuts to current state employees, though panelists noted that is not likely to gain support in the legislature.
The meeting drew fewer than 15 non-media people, about evenly split between supporters and opponents of a graduated tax.
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