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posted: 3/24/2014 12:01 AM

Taxpayers should choose income tax

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"One size fits all" rarely works with clothes, and it doesn't work with income taxes. Local chapters of the League of Women Voters in DuPage County were pleased to see front-page coverage of the graduated income tax issue by the Daily Herald on March 5. We would like to offer further clarification.

The flat tax, in place since 1970, has contributed to the systemic fiscal problems of the state. It offers no flexibility for solutions. If we had not increased the rate by 2 percent in 2011, the deficit would be three times what it is currently. Eliminating the 2 percent increase will result in a runaway deficit, which could bankrupt the state. Raising the current flat rate would be too burdensome on lower- and middle-income earners. The only choice with a flat-rate income tax is to extend the temporary increase, and that is not a long-term solution.

The article noted that in wealthy suburbs some would pay higher taxes, but many taxpayers in those same suburbs would likely pay less. Numerous organizations and leaders in A Better Illinois coalition expect a break for the majority of taxpayers. Further, as long as the state cannot meet its fiduciary responsibilities, wealthy suburbs will pay high property taxes. These hurt middle income earners and businesses because property taxes do not fall when income goes down.

People who are opposed to a fair tax often neglect to mention marginal tax rates. Higher rates are only paid on the portion of their income over and above cutoff levels, not on one's entire income.

Finally, the League believes taxpayers should decide what is best for them. It is essential that legislators put the issue on the November ballot.

Hilary Denk

Peggy Healy

LWV of Downers Grove, Woodridge and Lisle

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