SPRINGFIELD, Ill.

House Democrat proposes new tax on millionaires

Two days after Illinois Republicans chose a multimillionaire as their candidate for governor, the powerful Chicago Democrat who controls the Illinois House proposed a tax on millionaires Thursday to fund the state’s financially strapped education system.

House Speaker Michael Madigan introduced a constitutional amendment to tack a 3 percent surcharge onto incomes over $1 million, which he said would raise $1 billion a year for elementary and secondary education.

Madigan announced the idea in a news conference just as one of the nation’s most competitive governor races is heating up between Republican Bruce Rauner, a wealthy private-equity investor, and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who espouse starkly contrasting visions of how to fix the lagging economy Illinois.

BEIRUT

Syrian government forces capture Crusader castle

Syrian troops captured a famed Crusader castle near the border with Lebanon on Thursday, running the two-starred government flag high above the stone ramparts of the 12th century fortress after days of intense clashes with rebel fighters.

Lebanese private broadcaster Al-Mayadeen TV aired footage of Syrian soldiers walking unopposed into the Crac des Chevaliers, the towering hilltop citadel.

The military’s push into the Crac des Chevaliers marked the latest in a string of battlefield gains for President Bashar Assad’s forces. Government troops have seized at least four towns and villages in the past two weeks near the border with Lebanon.

– From news service reports