EYE ON ILLINOIS: Readers have say on income tax referendum uknowns

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Tuesday’s column about the bare facts of the upcoming income tax referendum concluded with a caveat: voters face a long-term question with short-term information. Readers most definitely agreed.

Bud. W: “Your article is without context regarding our current political/financial climate in Illinois. There is an absolute guarantee of the “Progressive Tax” that we all know without question… The rate will be inadequate to cover unfunded pensions and it will be raised. Please sir… Intellectual honesty compels you to report this. Please cite a situation in the past 50 years that any Illinois politician will not overspend our money? Your article is a special kind of soft sell that will result in growing our government. Gov. JB Pritzker will always lean on the taxpayers of this state as the man is incapable of fiscal responsibility.”

I did note the government won’t ever run on less money, whether that’s income, property or sales taxes or fees like vehicle registration. But Bud was not alone in distrusting politicians.

Gayle L.: “Good reminder — could have mentioned tollway going to be freeway, never happened. Tolls just continue to increase! Lottery going to benefit schools, News reported Illinois is now passing out IOUs! Chicago parking meters — sold Chicago out! Once a tax always a tax and up, up, up!”

There are other unknowns.

Cheryl (on Twitter): “There is way more than what I read in your short article. You didn’t bring up taxing pensions and more. No one seems to know about that.”

In June, state Treasurer Michael Frerichs spoke at a Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce event and implied graduated rates would make it easier to tax retirement income. The current flat tax rate discourages such a plan because it treats all income equally, which would put an undue burden on retirees whose pensions are small.

Conversely, some folks strongly favor taxing certain retirement income.

Craig L.: “I do not trust any Illinois politician with my money today. If this were a business in financial distress, why would I give a credit card with an unlimited credit line? Put in real spending reform as in make real cuts, a pension reform amendment and require all public state of Illinois pensioners to pay tax on their pensions at the Illinois tax rate regardless of where they live and permit claiming of only one publicly-funded pension be it state, city or federal. Then I would consider a tax amendment. Until then I’ll be checking no as long as I live here.”

Keeping the flat tax doesn’t guarantee preserving the current rate. But it’s the devil we know, and I suspect lots of voters aren’t eager to change. 

• Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media Illinois. Follow him on Twitter at @sth749. He can be reached at [ mailto:sholland@shawmedia.com ]sholland@shawmedia.com.

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via | Northwest Herald

September 4, 2020 at 06:32AM

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