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April 13, 2020

I read with interest Barbara Vitello's article in the April 4 edition concerning the proposed graduated income tax amendment. The author quotes Ralph Martire from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability saying the language of the amendment doesn't "require (my emphasis) a graduated rate structure, it just allows one." Yet earlier in the article, new progressive tax rates are given noting that legislation has been passed and signed by the governor is already in place.

During the governor's budget address in late February, he said the amount of state funding for education would depend on whether the graduated income tax amendment passed. The level of state education funding was set through a bipartisan formula approved in 2017 but that apparently doesn't matter. in typical political fashion, especially in Illinois, the ends justify the means.

With legislation already passed and signed along with the declaration that education funding will depend on passage of the amendment, who really believes graduated rates won't be implemented as soon as possible, even though they won't be "required"?

Martire was also quoted saying there was no " ... statistically meaningful correlation ... between tax policy and migration ..." He may be right. However, it is indisputable the population in Illinois has declined by over 160,000 in last few years according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It's equally indisputable that population has increased in Florida, Tennessee, Nevada and Texas during those same years, states that have no income tax.

There may not be any scientific studies for cause and effect but the circumstantial evidence is significant.

A progressive income tax in Illinois is not an answer to decades of bad fiscal policy. But if passed, it will be the beginning of increased rates on all tax payers and an accelerated exodus of individuals from all income levels.

Source: The Daily Herald