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Don't surrender Illinois's flat tax

by Kristina Rasmussen / /

From my op-ed in today's Chicago Tribune:

In the heat of battle, no soldier would give up his best weapon voluntarily. Yet that's what some are proposing we do in the effort to balance the state's budget.

Right now, Illinois residents send 3 percent of what they earn to 
Springfield to pay state individual income taxes. Last year,Gov. Pat Quinn unsuccessfully proposed increasing the tax rate by 50 percent. We're likely to see him repeat his request for an increase this year.

Others, including state Sen. Michael Frerichs, D-Champaign, want to do away with the constitutionally protected flat income tax. This would allow for the insertion of a graduated system. Many interests are keen to extract more resources from Illinois taxpayers, and they see a graduated tax structure as the best political path for achieving their aim.

Before we accept any revenue grab, let's review why keeping Illinois' income tax flat and low is critically important to our state's economic turnaround, not to mention good policy.