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A fairer tax proposal

Published: Friday, April 11, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

This is in response to state Rep. David McSweeney’s Guest View column (“Illinois can’t tax its way to prosperity,” April 2).

In favor of the flat income tax, he wrote: “If a family makes $1 million per year, they now pay $50,000 in Illinois taxes. If they make $25,000 per year, they pay $1,250 in Illinois taxes.” He then asked: “What could be fairer than a simple flat tax rate?”

First, consider the families in his example. I can guarantee you that the family that makes $25,000 per year needs every dollar they have just to get by. If the other family makes $1 million, the last $25,000 is barely more than a number on a balance sheet. It won’t change their lifestyle in any tangible way.

To the first family, that $25,000 is food, shelter, clothes and everything else. To the second family, it’s just a number.

So here is my answer to Mr. McSweeney’s question of what could be fairer? A graduated tax where the lowest bracket is 1 percent, the next bracket is 2 percent, the next is 3 percent, then 4 percent and, finally, 5 percent for the top earners.

If, for example, the brackets were $20,000 each, someone making $20,000 or less pays 1 percent. Someone making over $80,000 pays 5 percent on the amount over $80,000. They still pay only 1 percent on the first $20,000, 2 percent on the next $20,000, etc., so they are still getting a break on the first $80,000.

That, Mr. McSweeney, is more fair.

Jeff Kleinhans


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