Income taxes and other revenue streams

So the state house Republicans led the effort to reject a proposed constitutional amendment that would double the income tax rate on those who earn more than $250,000 a year. Excellent. We’ll take progress wherever we can get it.

Republican house leader Tom Cross was quoted saying this:

“The most troubling part about the amendment … is that we are going to raise perhaps $3 billion and we’re going to turn it over … to a party and an administration that everyone for the past five years has said can’t spend money wisely.”

The Daily Herald reported House Speaker Mike Madigan’s comments this way:

In rare, lengthy comments on the House floor, Madigan said lawmakers should stop using Blagojevich as the reason for voting against everything.

“If you’re looking to blame someone for what you’d consider to be mismanagement or misspending,” Madigan said, “don’t look too far beyond the end of your nose.”

It’s hard to disagree with Mike on that point.

A year ago, the Wall Street Journal editorialized in a piece titled “Rich States, Poor States,” that the next big thing in American politics might be “the abolition of state income taxes.”

Makes you proud to be in Illinois, doesn’t it? While in Georgia, Missouri and South Carolina there are serious proposals to repeal the income tax to promote economic development, our political leaders are looking to attract into the state those who want higher taxes.

According to the Journal,

“States are now in a ferocious competition to attract jobs and businesses,” says economist Arthur Laffer, who is advising several Governors and legislators on the issue, “and one of the best ways to win this race is to abolish the state income tax.”

If this sounds pie-in-the-sky crazy, digest this (emphasis is ours):

The idea of financing state services without an income tax is hardly radical. Nine states today — Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming — manage well without one. With a few exceptions, the non-income tax states are America’s most prosperous. Meanwhile, the high income tax states, which tend to be congregated in the Northeast, keep surrendering jobs, people, and voters to the South and West.

The editorial concluded:

[W]hat’s undeniable is that the debate in state capitals has swung decisively in the direction of chopping income tax rates, not raising them.

The bad news is that we live in Illinois. The good news – at least for now, is that Republicans in the state house rejected this most recent effort to find a new “revenue stream.” Let’s hope they keep it up, and reject not only all tax increases but also massive gambling expansion schemes.