The candidates also split along partisan lines

“I’m in favor of keeping it. Cutting costs alone is not the way to bring the state into further prosperity,” Mains said.

But Wheeler said the tax increase, which was billed by Democratic lawmakers as a measure to pay down billions in unpaid bills and straighten out Illinois’ finances, only succeeded in growing government.

Lawmakers raised the flat tax from 3 to 5 percent of individual income in 2011, with a provision to lower the rate to 3.75 percent in 2015.

But Gov. Pat Quinn in his 2015 budget address earlier this year asked lawmakers to make the increase permanent.

“We handled the money very poorly the last few years. I don’t think you should trust us with more of your money,” Wheeler said.

The candidates, both from the Crystal Lake area, spent an hour Tuesday afternoon talking with the Northwest Herald Editorial Board about the issues facing the state and the 64th District. The district, which includes parts of McHenry and Lake counties, runs north from Crystal Lake up through the Chain O’ Lakes to the Wisconsin border and includes all or parts of Bull Valley, Spring Grove, Wonder Lake, Johnsburg, Lake Villa and Lindenhurst.

The candidates also split along partisan lines with proposals to move from a flat tax to a progressive structure based on income like the federal income tax – Wheeler opposes the idea, but Mains supports it. Such a change would require voters to amend the Illinois Constitution.

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