Nothing like taxes. That's the half of government that wealthy people care most about. They are the cut-my-taxes base of the GOP. We progressives don't really pay as much attention to the tax side and tend to spend more energy on the spending side.
But as Ralph Martire put it, tax policy is the civil rights agenda of the 21st century.
Anyway, two interesting things.
1) This press release from the IRS that details how some people haven't filed their 2001 tax returns, but are eligible for an average refund of $484. Just in Illinois, about 67,000 people haven't filed the 2001 returns, leaving more than $95 million in D.C. Could you imagine how hard we'd work for a $100 million federal project? But there is a $100 million federal project to be had -- track down all the Illinois residents who haven't filed their returns and get them filed. State and local governments can probably do something about this. Any ideas?
2) Looks like Barbara Flynn Currie, Illinois' House Majority Leader, is looking to upgrade the state's earned income tax credit, which really helps pull working people out of poverty. It's an open secret that low-paid jobs mean perpetual poverty, and a couple thousand dollars is a fortune to someone earned $14,000 a year. The earned income tax credit directs dollars to people with low paid jobs, especially with children. The federal earned income tax credit is already set up and fairly generous. It's been the only bi-partisan anti-poverty program that everyone embraces in the last two decades (apparently President Reagan was a big fan). States are looking to match a percentage of what the federal income tax credit gives back. We're now at 5%, which is below average. HB 470 (read it here) would up that over a few years to 20%. It's getting a lot of bi-partisan co-sponsors, but if your rep is not on the list, make that phone call.