Fair tax or moolah grab?

Opinion: Columns

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By Jim Bowman

State Senator Don Harmon and others had a problem last June: how to pay for things. Voters were waiting, hands outstretched, but the wherewithal was running short. So he decided to return to the well, amend the constitution, ditch the one-size-fits-all flat tax, and raise more moolah!
He filed the senate bill on the last day of the session, early enough to "build momentum" in the months ahead, he told the Daily Herald, maybe get people used to the idea of paying more to live in Illinois. It would be by way of a brand-new progressive income tax. A "fair tax," he called it on the hustings last summer, and the bill's synopsis has it, making it official.
Gone will be the "non-graduated rate … [so] that this may be a fair tax," the synopsis says, as if this amendment is a bill of taxpayer rights, when it's for moolah. The vote's a-coming. We are to find out who has the fairest tax in our land, hoping the answer will be our great state of Illinois!
Meanwhile, some have more to give and must do so. Get into the deep pockets, therefore. Save the state, save the programs.
How deep the pockets for this pursuit of extra moolah? Deep starting at $18,001 a year, covering all those people who cruise along unfairly, even outrageously. Let them cough up.
Especially those at the top, making over $500,000 a year. Don's fellow (or sister) Dem in the House, whose bill is "nearly identical" to Don's, the Herald writer observed, wants 9% of their overage. That's up from the flat 3.75% which is to replace the current (temporary) 5%.
She wants 8% of what's over $195,000, 7% of over $95,000, 6% of over $58,000, 5% of over $36,000, and finally 4% of the aforementioned $18,000 — each rate, keep in mind, contrasted with the 3.75%.
Make more than a princely $18,000, you get a tax increase. It would be "one of the largest transfers of wealth in the history of Illinois," says the Illinois Policy Institute, and "not from the wealthy to the poor — but from the general public" to unionized government workers.
It's a huge revenue grab, in other words, presented not even as a way to make up budget shortfalls, unimaginative as this would be, but as fair. Chutzpah, thy name is Harmon!
He wants this. Give it to him. He's a man of the people. Deep-pocket citizens, unite! Give Sen. Don your vote and your money. It's only fair.
Jim Bowman's book "Company Man: My Jesuit Life, 1950-1968" is available at Book Table on Lake Street and online.

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Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 12:54 PM

According to Don's fact sheet (look at the tiny print at the bottom) his proposed numbers seem quite different from the "nearly identical" proposal. So I'm rather confused... http://www.abetterillinois.org/resources/body/Factsheet-Harmon-Rates-Calculator-Fiscal-Cliff-FINAL2-03.31.14.pdf

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2014 8:40 AM

@Amerigo: I support the Fair Tax, keeping in mind the Fair Tax would be the only tax by the Federal Government. Here in Illinois, we had a temporary 67% income tax increase floated 3 years ago attempting to become permanent. Please file all legal paperwork necessary to prevent Harmon from using the term. Your slip of the finger "Fait" is telling, because out tax "Fate" here in Illinois is constantly in conflict.

Amerigo M Cimino from Palm Coast, .FL  

Posted: March 27th, 2014 3:55 AM

The Fait Tax, would causee the greatest boon to the Our economy, since the birth of the industruial age! The present system of collecting taxes is arcane; and favors Big business and Government, at the expense of the Wage-earner! The Fair Tax; taxes consumption, NOT income! The Fair Tax will eliminate ALL other Federal Taxes, including Health Care! The Fair Tax is simple and understandable! The Fair Tx will cut down the number of Government tax collectors!

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: March 26th, 2014 9:03 PM

Is this Fair Tax going to be like the Affordable Care Act? With liberals you can always count on the exact opposite of whatever they name their bills.

Opie Duper from Oak Park  

Posted: March 26th, 2014 6:56 PM

Fair Tax, Fair Tax, Fair Tax, Fair Tax,Fair Tax,Fair Tax,Fair Tax,Fair Tax,Fair Tax,Fair Tax,Fair Tax,Fair Tax,Fair Tax,Fair Tax,Fair Tax,Fair Tax,Fair Tax. Ah, got that out of my system.


Posted: March 26th, 2014 6:22 PM

You guys are all worked up because someone else used the name "Fair Tax?" That's probably a good indicator of why THAT FairTax has no chance of ever being reality. You all bark up the wrong tree.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: March 26th, 2014 5:43 PM

I think Sen. Harmon needs to mollify all the Tea Party types and their legal concerns and refer to it as the "not un-fair tax." Btw, Tea party types, if the income tax punishes hard work, does that mean a national retail sales tax punishes comsumption?

Jim Bennett from Summit, NJ  

Posted: March 26th, 2014 5:21 PM

This group has improperly used the name "Fair Tax" to identify their movement. THE FairTax(R) is a movement to promote a national retail sales tax to replace Subtitles A, B, and C of the Internal Revenue Code and to phase out the IRS over a three-year period. For more information, go to www.fairtax.org.

Beverly Martin from Fulton  

Posted: March 26th, 2014 5:00 PM

Using the name "fairtax" is dishonest since the name "FairTax" is protected by copywrite law and would end the income tax which includes any type of flat tax which still depends upon income reporting and taxation. Many people and organizations have deliberately used the term fairtax to mislead and confuse voters. http://www.fairtax.org/PDF/FairTax%20flat%20tax%20income%20comparison%20chart.pdf explains the difference between the FairTaxHR25 and the flat tax. learn more at www.fairtaxnation.com

Kenneth Smith from Sunnyvale, CA  

Posted: March 26th, 2014 1:48 PM

I agree with Randy Fischer. The Fair Tax is trademarked and stands for legislation currently pending in both houses of Congress at the federal level. Randy explains it well in his comment. Further detailed information can be found by simply Googling Fair Tax. We need to make this happen by insisting that our U. S. congressmen/women and U.S. senators co-sponsor and actively support the Fair Tax.

Randy Fischer from Ocala  

Posted: March 26th, 2014 1:24 PM

Senator Harmon must stop appropriating and misusing the name Fair Tax or any derivation of that name. It is a violation of trademark to do use it and it is being used contrary to the purposes of the group that have the name. HR-25 is proposed federal legislation seeking to replace the income tax, death taxes, dividend and interest taxes and corporate taxes with a national retail sales tax. Income taxes are inherently evil and punish hard work and thrift. Stop using that term.

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