October 29, 2013
Have you ever hiked up a steep hill or mountain? Sometimes the climb goes well; other times there are setbacks, and you have to start again. The pride in reaching your goal provides tremendous satisfaction, and the joy fuels the willingness to continue on the journey.
But imagine instead how would you feel if, just as you were about to reach your goal, someone put their foot on the top of your head and started to push you back down.
That is exactly what some legislators and their government union allies want to do to working- and middle-class residents in Illinois. Their plan is to replace Illinois’ constitutionally protected flat income tax with a progressive income tax.
Under such a tax, just as your hard work is about to pay off by earning a little more money, some politicians want to discriminate against you by taking more of your growing income.
In fact, they want to do this to almost everyone in Illinois. In two scenarios currently under consideration, everyone making more than $5,000 or $18,000 would see a tax hike.
Perhaps the worst thing about the progressive tax advocates is that they mask this discrimination in the language of “fairness.”
Fairness means treating people equally — but that is not what they are proposing. They want to treat middle-class taxpayers more harshly than those who make a bit less by taxing them at a higher rate.
Worse, the policy of income discrimination makes it harder and harder for poor and working-class families to move up the income ladder.
Under the progressive tax scheme, the Illinois Tax Man will take more and more of your money away as your income rises from your hard work.
The good news is that it just got a little harder for the tax-hikers to pass their progressive tax plan, because 48 Illinois House members oppose this income discrimination scheme. All 47 Republicans and so far one Democrat are on record opposing this unfair progressive tax plan. They don’t believe in punishing people just as they start to make real progress.
State Rep. Kate Cloonen, D-Kankakee, has not yet signed on to House Resolution 241, a key resolution rejecting a progressive tax hike.
Taxpayers need the support of their local lawmakers in fighting this tax hike.
Progressive tax-hikers will tell us that it is more fair to have escalating rates as incomes go up. In reality, under this scheme the middle class gets squeezed. Just look at where the top progressive tax rates start in other states.
In Georgia, the top tax rate of 6 percent is applied to all income earned above $7,000. In Idaho, the top rate of 7.4 percent kicks in at $10,350. And in Maine, the top rate of 6.84 percent starts at $20,900.
So don’t be fooled when lawmakers say a progressive income tax will only affect high-income earners. The newly proposed rates in Illinois make it clear that lawmakers are gearing up to raise tax rates on ordinary families.
Proponents will also argue that the new revenues from their income discrimination proposal will help solve Illinois’ fiscal nightmare and fix our unfunded pension problem. The truth is that Illinois government already has record revenues —more than they’ve ever had before. We have unfunded debt because state politicians are spending at a record rate. Any new tax revenues would simply fuel more out-of-control spending.
The solution is simple — the flat tax is fair. Reject the progressive tax, and in doing so you’ll be saying “no” to discrimination against those who are simply trying to climb the ladder of life and get ahead here in Illinois.