Taxpayers beware! The drum beat has begun for the campaign to launch a graduated state income tax in Illinois. We'll be hearing more about it in the upcoming 2014 election campaigns.
Here's what will occur. First, the members of the General Assembly will honor their commitment let the "temporary" 67 percent increase in the state income tax lapse. These politicians will then run around patting themselves on the back for actually doing what they said they would do. Taxpayers will be awe-struck!
But then, immediately after the tax increase has lapsed, and after the politicians have taken their bows; legislation will be passed which revises the tax code by replacing the old 3 percent flat tax with a graduated tax. This change will be made in the names of "reform," "modernization" of the tax code and -- the biggie -- tax "fairness." Taxpayers who object to the change will be flayed by charges that they are insensitive, stupid, greedy, racist and unfair to the less fortunate in our society.
Third, the new graduated tax will take far more money from taxpayers' pockets than did the temporary 5 percent flat tax. Additionally, lower-income families will: 1) be completely exempted from paying any state income tax; 2) no longer have "skin in the game;" and 3) forever be loyal to the Democratic Party that treated them so "fairly." The new system will cause those in the working middle class -- the people with average incomes and lots of bills -- to simply get the shaft.
The profile of Illinois taxpayers will then be like that of federal income tax payers: The top 50 percent of Illinois' earners will pay 97.75 percent of Illinois' taxes. The other 50 percent will ride free.
The really fair thing is to resist this change with all of our might so we can keep our money in our own pockets and out of the hands of self-serving politicians who waste most of what comes their way.
Charles F. Falk