Last week, a Republican candidate for state representative accused Democratic incumbent Mike Smiddy of plotting to raise income taxes on 85 percent of Illinois families.
Jeff McKinley, who plans to run in March’s GOP primary, even issued a news release to that effect.
On Tuesday, he stood by his release. A day later, however, he conceded it was misleading.
Everyone involved agrees that Smiddy, a Hillsdale Democrat whose district includes Whiteside County, has co-sponsored a bill that would put a constitutional amendment on next November’s ballot to allow a graduated income tax in Illinois.
Under such a system, tax rates would rise progressively with higher incomes. Illinois is one of only a few states with a flat tax rate.
In last week’s news release, McKinley referred to a study by the Illinois Policy Institute, a Chicago-based conservative think tank, which found that a graduated tax plan would raise rates on 85 percent of the state’s families.
But Smiddy said he had never signed on to any specific plan for graduated tax rates. On Wednesday, McKinley acknowledged that fact, saying the 85 percent figure was misleading.
“I will concede that he may not have a specific plan that he has publicly backed,” McKinley said. “It defies common logic if they are not going to be ultimately in support of imposing a pretty significant tax regime. This is not going to decrease taxes. The whole purpose is to increase revenue.”
In this economic climate, he said, no one should pay more taxes.
Another Republican candidate is Jim Wozniak. Both men are assistant state’s attorneys in Rock Island County.
Wozniak said Tuesday he knew of no specific graduated tax plan that Smiddy supported.
Smiddy said Wednesday that there would be enough time for debate next year when he knows who his opponent is.
The race in the 71st District might be one of only a few that are competitive next year.