Another vote, another advisory referendum. The Nov. 4 ballot seems to be getting bulkier and bulkier for every day the General Assembly remains in session this spring. On Thursday, the Senate ignored GOP charges of election-year “gimmickry” and approved two ballot questions, sending one to Gov. Pat Quinn for final approval and the other back to the Illinois House. By a 33-17 vote, the Senate approved legislation that would put a non-binding referendum on the fall ballot that would ask whether voters favor imposing an additional 3-percent tax on millionaires with money raised going toward public schools. “I’m not a biblical scholar, but I remember from my childhood and Sunday school: ‘to whom much is given, much is expected,’” said Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, the millionaire-tax bill’s chief Senate sponsor.
The measure now bound for the governor originally was conceived by House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, as a constitutional amendment, but he could not muster a supermajority to pass it through the house. So, Madigan settled for the advisory referendum that passed the Senate after having already passed the House.
“This is a game,” said Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, who voted against Noland’s bill. “And unfortunately, you’re really messing with the wrong people here. In the name of helping the kids, you are attacking job creators in this state. Now, if we continue this, they might not even be there for you to tax by the time this gets into law.”