The Illinois Senate and House are expected to vote this week on a bill that would let voters decide whether to switch to a progressive income tax or keep the current flat tax. A point-counterpoint on page A5 today lays out the arguments for and against it.
Proponents of the progressive tax say it would mean lower taxes for 94 percent of taxpayers. But the 4.9 percent rate that most people would pay under one proposal would be lower only if you assume that the current temporary 5 percent income tax will become permanent. That's a flawed starting point.
Lawmakers promised the 5 percent rate would drop to 3.75 percent in 2015, and we expect lawmakers to keep their word. The progressive tax plan is presented as a third option, but that's just political cover so lawmakers can vote "yes" and claim they didn't break a promise. A tax increase is a tax increase however they spin it.
Gov. Pat Quinn and lawmakers are threatening deep cuts to education, prisons and social programs if taxes are rolled back. Amazing how adding about $25.7 billion in revenue hasn't helped those programs, but now a lower tax rate --that is still higher than the rate we used to pay -- is going to have devastating results.
Lawmakers really need to work on restoring their credibility and living within the state's means rather than hatching new tax-and-spend schemes.
We urge our local lawmakers to vote against tax increase proposals, progressive or flat.