To the Editor:
The explanation by the Secretary of State in his mailing regarding the graduated income tax amendment is heavy on the word “fair” and light on the benefits of soaking the rich.
Doubling the current state tax on incomes over a quarter million affects work incentives. Federal rates of 35-39% plus state tax of 6-9% are not the only reason to retire early. Self-employment Social Security: 13% vs. 8% as an employee. When 50-60% of additional income is seized by government, you retire to Florida. Although the 5% percentage point increase in the 50% now paid on marginal income is only a tenth more, the straw that broke the camel's back.
Prime Minister of Britain Margaret Thatcher advocated poll (head) taxes to require all citizens to bear the consequences of their elected representatives' fiscal decisions. A poll tax encourages work – income taxes discourage it. Consider alimony and child support: with income tax, maybe an 80% marginal rate: they quit working hard. Moody's puts Illinois' pension arrears at almost a quarter trillion. $3 billion from the 3% is a drop in the bucket and won't stop politicians from further spending on union public employees. A poll tax will.
Divide the $48 billion or so state budgets by 10 million adults. $4,800 per capita is then what each of us, not just the other fellow, must pay. Can't pay? Public service: cleaning public space, labor details, etc. Pension debt: $24,000 per capita: can anyone but the 3% pay this? I suspect the 3% will expand rapidly to most of the 97%.
In due course, we may wish St. Peter won't be “fair”, but will overlook our transgressions. We are asked to be “fair” by overlooking politicians' fiscal surrenders to public employee unions, and approve the amendment. Would St. Peter?
Alphonse I. Johnson