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National Editorial & Columnists

ILLINOIS EDITORIALS: A preview of the progressive tax

Take a look at what happened in Texas and stay tuned for what happens in Illinois

Public officials in some states see income taxes as the path to economic salvation, a surefire way to pay for whatever programs legislators can come up with.

Other states also see them as granting legislators authority to tax income the same way, except they perceive that unlimited power as a surefire road to the nether regions, not salvation.

Texas falls in the latter camp, which explains why voters there overwhelmingly (75 percent) passed a constitutional amendment prohibiting a state income tax.

Now Texans have long made it clear they’re against income taxes. They don’t have a state income tax and their constitution made “passing one a different endeavor,” according to news accounts.

But just in case someone got a mind to try to enact one, some folks there decided it was time to make the anti-tax point – again.

“THANK YOU TEXANS!!!! Future generations of Texans will thank you too,” tweeted Gov. Greg Abbott, “Keep Government out of your pocketbook.”

As part of his anti-tax campaign, Abbott distributed a video showing him tearing up a California income tax form. Why California?

Its progressive income tax rates range from 1 percent to 12.3 percent. Plus, there’s another 1 percent surcharge on taxpayers whose incomes are over $1 million for mental-health services.

If Abbott’s ad proved to be an eye-catcher, voters in Illinois may get to see an Illinois version of it.

That’s because Gov. J.B. Pritzker is pushing for passage of an amendment to the Illinois Constitution in the November 2020 election that would replace the current flat-tax mandate with progressive rates – steadily increasing tax rates on rising levels of income.

Passing a state constitutional amendment requires supermajority support from voters, and so far, it’s unclear where Illinoisans stand on the issue.

But it’s very clear how Texas voters feel about state income taxes. They’re against progressive income taxes, flat taxes, any kind of income taxes.

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