Voice of The Southern: Graduated tax would benefit Southern Illinois

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This election cycle is the most bitterly polarizing in recent memory. The life-altering impact of a global pandemic and civil unrest arising from racial injustice have magnified our divisions as a nation in unprecedented ways.

In Illinois, the question of whether to amend the state’s constitution to allow for a graduated income tax is, unfortunately, no exception. In Southern Illinois, dueling yard signs, both pro and con, tell the story in our residents’ front lawns. You can bet Biden/Harris signs adorn the same lawns as many of those “vote yes on the Fair Tax” signs, while anti-Pritzker signs are often staked along with the others. 

But there is evidence showing the tax could unite some of us.

The amendment would repeal Illinois’ flat income tax of 4.95% and instead tax variable rates dependent on income. The federal income tax is graduated, as are the state income taxes of most states.

It makes little sense to split ourselves according to party lines on this issue. This past February, Southern Illinois University’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute polled 1,000 registered voters and found they favored a graduated income tax by a 2-to-1 margin, and 55% of downstate voters supported it. The institute asked a similar question the year before and ended up with similar results.

As John Jackson, a visiting professor with the Simon Institute, said of the poll results in The Southern last week, “It’s been very consistent way before all of this got going with the governor’s backing.” 

via The Southern

October 18, 2020 at 07:59AM

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