The governors of Connecticut and Tennessee--two of 10 states with no income taxes--have proposed adding them.
In separate announcements Wednesday, Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. of Connecticut and Gov. Ned McWherter of Tennessee also proposed cutting other taxes, including their states' sales taxes.
Weicker said an income tax is needed to help erase a $2.4-billion budget shortfall. Tennessee Finance Commissioner David Mannig said his state won't be able to grant raises to teachers without one.
The proposals are expected to be controversial.
In Tennessee, McWherter, a Democrat, had to get Republican Leonard Dunavant to carry the legislation for him in the state Senate after Democratic majority leader Sen. Riley Darnell refused.
"I can support it when the people can," Darnell said.
Weicker said he had hoped to avoid the issue.
"I went into budget deliberations seeking to avoid an income tax," he told Connecticut lawmakers. "This plan takes care of the past and starts tomorrow today. Hope was the difference. With it, all was possible. Without it, our Connecticut, as we envision it, would slip away."
Weicker said that under his plan, with a cut in the state sales tax, those earning less than $10,000 a year would pay 2% less in combined state taxes, while those earning $200,000 a year or more would pay about 1% more.
He said the income tax would raise $2.07 billion.