Pat Wemstrom once again exhibits her talent for missing the point (“Illinois' exodus 'more complicated' than taxes,” Feb. 26-27 MD/TJ Letters).
Apparently the best argument she can make in favor of hiking taxes is that "the belief that retirees and the wealthy are fleeing Illinois because of high taxes is not entirely supported by available data."
Of course not. Taxation is only one reason for deciding to leave the state; there are others, but her usual muddle of Googled factoids regarding the demographics of the exodus do not disprove the role of high taxes as a factor in that decision, nor do they explain the similar flight of retirees and the wealthy from other high tax states to Sunbelt or mountain states with no state income or inheritance taxes.
Those same factoids also do not predict the effect of even higher taxes in the future, although the results are unlikely to be an incentive to move or stay here. They do suggest, if Pat is correct, a potential advertising slogan to promote the state: "Come for the political corruption; stay for the high taxes."
Her enigmatic contention that the graduated income tax may benefit lower-income residents who may (or may not) stay, possibly stemming "the outgoing tide of Illinoisans" and maybe (or maybe not) increasing revenue in the long run from a population that, according to Chuck Wemstrom and John Gloor, will never have to pay the higher taxes, would seem to be a specious justification for enacting a graduated income tax.
In addition to missing the point, Pat bristles that I concluded "that if we vote for a graduated state income tax, we are stupid." That isn't quite what I concluded, but Pat simplistically equates a hypothetical questioning after the fact of how we could have been so stupid as to fall for yet another tax increase with simply being stupid.
Even smart people do stupid things occasionally, but perhaps naïve, credulous, ingenuous, innocent, foolish, or simply gullible would be more acceptable adjectives given the record of Springfield politicians and frugality.
David E. Hanson