David E. Hanson continues his infantile battle with Chuck Wemstrom in the Savanna Times-Journal of Feb. 6 (and Feb. 5 Carroll County Mirror-Democrat) in which he argues that the constitutional amendment allowing a graduated income tax should be summarily defeated by “the voters who would end up paying it,” and that the suggestion that the “rich” would pay their “fair share” is laughable.
As usual, Mr. Hanson doesn’t present any facts, but merely offers his cynical opinion. Let’s look at what is in the law if the constitutional amendment passes (See Senate Bill 687 passed by both the Illinois House and Senate and signed by Governor Pritzker):
•All single and joint filers earning less than $100,000 a year would in fact pay less than they are now paying (down from the current 4.95% to 4.75% and 4.90% depending on level of income).
•Then, up to $250,000 the 4.95% rate stays the same. Higher tax rates apply to taxable earnings above a quarter million dollars a year, but . . .
•Only single filers earning above $750,000 and joint filers with over a million dollars in taxable income would pay the maximum 7.99% rate.
How many individuals in Carroll County earn more than $750,000? How many families in Carroll County earn more than $1,000,000?
According to one study of current filers, the graduated income tax would raise the taxes of 40 taxpayers in the whole 17th State Representative District. In addition, Senate Bill 39 would provide some property tax relief.
Perhaps Mr. Hanson is blessed with a taxable income above a quarter million dollars a year, but otherwise he is railing against a tax increase which, like Chuck Wemstrom and I, he will not have to pay.
And, yes, the rich will try to avoid paying the higher tax, but there is no tax rate so low they will not try to avoid paying it. As for leaving Illinois – where will they go? Iowa’s top tax rate is 8.53% and Wisconsin’s is 7.65%. Indiana’s rate is lower than Illinois’ now and the rush of millionaires to Indiana has not been noteworthy.
The fact is our state revenues do not cover our expenses. Taxes will have to go up. The only question is who will bear the higher taxes. I favor the Fair Tax Amendment which will modestly raise the taxes of those most able to pay, while leaving 97% of us unaffected. There’s nothing “wrong-headed” about that.
John F. Gloor