Dear Editor:

Despite his persistent inability to define just who "the rich" are or what their "fair share" of the tax burden should be, Chuck Wemstrom continues his crusade for higher taxes (“Rich must pay their fair share of taxes,” Oct. 7-8 MD/TJ). Unfortunately, his letter focused largely on what the state could do if only it had a graduated income tax.

Citing President Trump's taxes (or even Joe Biden's avoidance of more than $513,000 in payroll taxes by listing book and speaking income as corporate profits rather than taxable wages) is irrelevant to the issue of Illinois' flat tax rate, as the federal income tax is already graduated. His beef here is with a byzantine federal tax code rather than Illinois' flat tax rate.

The financial hole Illinois finds itself in has less to do with insufficiently high taxes than with public union control of Springfield, runaway pension liabilities, and an unwillingness to match expenditures to income.

Increasing the take from upper income taxpayers will likely fail because there simply aren't enough of them and they are likely to leave the state for lower tax states. Illinois already leads the nation in out-migration, with a 2019 NPR Illinois/University of Illinois survey finding that respondents gave high taxes as the top reason for leaving.

The claim that 97% of taxpayers will pay less under the so-called "Fair Tax" is likewise baloney. The currently proposed bottom tax rate is a princely 0.2% below the current rate, and will likely be hiked as soon as the revenue receipts fail to match the rosy estimates of the Chuck Wemstroms who "insist that the rich start paying taxes."

J.B. Pritzker admitted as much, stating that his plan includes "no guarantees" against raising middle class tax rates. While there may be nothing certain save death and taxes, one might add a third verity that tax rates will inevitably rise.

Giving the spendthrifts in Springfield, the less painful option of dividing and conquering the electorate to raise taxes is akin to offering an alcoholic a drink: one is too many and a dozen not enough. Vote no on the so-called "Fair Tax."

David Hanson