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posted: 11/16/2013 5:00 AM

Quinn's got it wrong on 'progressive' tax

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As Illinois' debt increases by at least $21 million per day, we hear calls by Gov. Pat Quinn and many in the state legislature to move to a "progressive" state income tax to replace the constitutionally mandated flat income tax. Supposedly, some will pay more, some will pay less.

If the change does anything to close the huge spending gap however, it stands to reason that middle class taxpayers will pay the same or more, and many middle class taxpayers will pay a lot more. That's because the middle class represents the great majority of income, therefore bearing the great majority of the income tax burden. The only ones who may pay less are those who already pay little or nothing, so their small income tax cut will have no effect on revenue.

Quinn says Illinois should have progressive income taxes like Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana. I didn't know that something was automatically better because someone else does it. That kind of reasoning sounds childish. Maybe Quinn just let slip his opinion of the intelligence of Illinois taxpayers. And if it makes sense to do something because others do it, then why shouldn't those states adopt a flat rate like Illinois and Michigan?

When Wisconsin had its political and financial struggles in 2012, Quinn was heard bragging how much better we do things in Illinois. Gov. Quinn, wouldn't Wisconsin be much better off having a flat tax rate like Illinois?

When Quinn promotes a progressive income tax because other states have it, he conveniently forgets to mention that, without exception, the other states have far lower sales tax, real estate and other taxes than Illinois, resulting in a much lower overall middle class tax burden, all while providing as good or better services, infrastructure and education than Illinois.

Tom Roth

Arlington Heights

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