House Speaker Michael Madigan is proposing cutting Illinois' corporate income tax rate in half in an effort to improve the state's business climate. The powerful Chicago Democrat introduced legislation Thursday that would cut the rate from 7 percent to 3.5 percent, effective Jan. 1. Madigan says he hopes the cut "will encourage CEOs to grow their work forces with good paying jobs." Democratic lawmakers in 2011 approved a temporary tax hike as a way to address Illinois' fiscal crisis. It raised the corporate income tax from 4.8 percent to 7 percent. The increase is scheduled to be rolled back to 5.25 percent on Jan. 1. Republicans have criticized Democrats for creating an unfriendly business environment, saying increased taxes have contributed to Illinois' high unemployment rate.
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