Illinois Lieut. Gov. Pat Quinn and a Cook County commissioner last week unveiled a proposal that would allow voters to petition for a direct public vote on taxing and spending issues.

The proposal comes amid public anger over the county’s recent sales tax increase, which pushed Chicago’s sales tax to 10.25%, the highest in the nation.

Quinn and Commissioner Forrest Claypool — both Democrats who are outspoken critics of their respective administrations — said the state should approve a law that would allow voters to petition for referendums on local and county tax measures. They also want the state constitution to be amended to give voters the same power on state-wide tax and spending measures.

“If taxpayers want to repeal an unfair tax, one that’s not justified, we ought to have a process in our state that believes in government of the people,” Quinn said in announcing the plan.

Such a measure already exists in 24 states and in several cities across the Midwest. Illinois’ November ballot already includes a measure asking whether the state should call for a convention where lawmakers would discuss potential changes to the constitution.

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