Illinois' tax system is stuck in the 19th century

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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The Fair Tax was not a tax hike, it was not a Pritzker tax, it was not a power grab, it was not an increase in legislative powers, it was not a referendum on how Springfield is performing, it was not an invitation to tax and spend, and it was not out of line with the rest of America.

It was an attempt to get us out of the 19th century. We have had a progressive income tax nationally for 107 years. It was an attempt to get us in line with almost all states that have an income tax, which is almost all states. Yes, even Iowa, hardly a bastion of progressivism, has a graduated income tax. 

It was an attempt to change one word, "flat", in our 1970 state constitution to "graduated." It was an attempt to allow 97% of the population to pay a lower tax rate than the top 3% of earners. It was an attempt to align our state and federal income taxes.

No one is denying that Springfield has problems. Lack of pension reform, 7,000 plus units of redundant local government, a gerrymandered map that allows many representatives to have no competition, and massive debt, are some of the many problems that Springfield has not fixed. But this amendment had nothing to do with fixing any of these. This amendment was a mere attempt to get us into the 20th century, as President Wilson successfully did with his progressive agenda in 1913.

I am surprised that the majority of Illinois citizens do not know enough about history to counteract the claims made in ads paid for by the top 1% of income earners that were erroneously substantiated by many editorials.

Jan Goldberg


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Nick A Binotti  

Posted: November 11th, 2020 4:38 PM

1) In the 19th century, Illinois didn't have an income tax. 2) The word "flat" does not appear anywhere in Article 9 of the State Constitution. 3) It clearly was not an attempt to change just one word (which wasn't there) as two whole sentences were removed, one of which being "at any one time there may be no more than one such tax imposed by the State for State purposes on individuals..." 4) If it indeed "was an attempt to get us in line with almost all states that have an income tax", then it would have taxed retirement income. 5) Of all the states to use an example, you chose Iowa which is one of the few that let's you deduct federal taxes paid from your state taxable income. One thing I learned from Fair Tax: The most vocal proponents were the most uneducated about it. One of the many reasons the Fair Tax was a dumpster fire within a dumpster fire.

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