Dear Editor:

There he goes again. Chuck Wemstrom again advocates a tax increase he knows he won't have to pay (“Suggestions to solve West Carroll problems,” Jan. 29-30 MD/TJ letters).

The proposal to amend the state constitution to allow a graduated income tax is so wrong-headed that it should be summarily defeated by the voters who would end up paying it. Chuck's attempt to tart up the proposal by invoking school funding is as cynical as it is disingenuous.

Recall that the state lottery was also sold as a funding measure for education. Education funding is appropriated by the legislature each year, so the result was no new educational spending, although technically school spending was financed by the lottery to the extent that money is fungible.

Despite his recurrent inability to define who "the rich" are or what their "fair share" might be, his suggestion that only "the rich," not all of us, will pay the higher taxes is equally risible. Wealthy taxpayers are already leaving high tax states like New York, Illinois, New Jersey and California.

Our governor was willing to remove the toilets from his Chicago mansion and have it declared unfit for habitation to cut his real estate tax bill, illustrating the lengths to which wealthy taxpayers will go to protect their assets.

If "the rich" hire tax attorneys to find loopholes or tax shelters or simply leave, can anyone doubt that the income tax rates would be increased for the rest of us, given the relish with which Democrats in Springfield hiked taxes last year?

P.J. O'Rourke could have been referring to Illinois when he noted that "giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." If voters get suckered into voting for a graduated income tax, they will have only themselves to blame as they wonder, "How could we be so stupid?"

David E. Hanson