Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sales and property taxes are too high -- vote for a constitutional convention

The main reason why property taxes are too high in Illinois and our sales tax in Cook County is too high (the highest in the nation, as a matter of fact) is because our state income tax is too low. And it's too low because of the state constitution. The state constitution stupidly requires a flat rate. That's a mistake that needs to be corrected.

There are only three main sources of taxes for the government: sales, income and property taxes. Because Illinois' constitution requires a flat rate, our rate is the lowest in the nation at only 3%. That's low. That means state and local governments have to rely too heavily on the other two taxes: sales and property.

And that's what people complain about: high property taxes and high sales taxes.

The way to lower those taxes is to bring in more money from an income tax. And the way to do that is to fix the state constitution.

And the way to do that is to vote yes this November on the question whether or not to call a convention of citizens who can put amendments on the 2010 ballot for the electorate to decide whether to approve or not.

This is one in a series of reasons why Illinois citizens should vote yes on the question of calling a constitutional convention this November.


Steve Bartin said...


Texas doesn't have a state income tax.Texas also has a lower sales tax than Cook County.But,there are some other states that don't have a state income tax.Illinois chooses to be a big spending state with big pensions that if can't afford for government workers.Illinois has a spending and corruption problem that needs to be addressed.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

And so Texas property taxes are through the roof. Government needs to get the money from those three sources. Texas is even more imbalanced than we are.

Our pension problem is not at the source of high taxes. Our spending is relatively low, in general, even though pension spending is relatively high. Pensions, as a slice of government spending, just isn't that much.

The fact that we haven't put any money into the pension system in decades makes our pension funds basically broke.

But we are a relatively low-spending and low-taxing state, even though state pensions are still relatively high.

Jake said...

Hi Dan,
I want to support the constitutional convention but I'm a little worried that progressive forces won't be strong enough to actually win the changes we need. Instead of fixing campaign finance or getting a progressive tax system, what if demagogues on the right gut public sector pensions or allow the wealthier suburbs to escape Cook County and destroy the (already inadequate) county safety net?

Progressive forces in Illinois don't seem very strong right now. On the other hand, organizing to win a better constitution might give us an issue to rally around. I just don't know how much faith I have in that idea. What do you think?

D-Jam said...

I understand the idea for a new constitution, but I also think ALL elected officials in Illinois should take a PAY CUT. You look at their bloated salaries and how many of them are paid 6 figures. It's insane. If they want to cry how they would leave office if paid less, then so be it. Plenty more capable people would do the work for less money.

One of the biggest issues in my opinion is too many government workers and elected officials are paid too damn much. Cut some salaries and you'll get a lot more income for the services.

Raising the state income tax is just taking a tax hike from one spot and placing it somewhere there's no guarantee they'll lower the property and sales taxes. FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY needs to be instituted...even if it means some of these overpaid crooks lose their money or jobs.

They talk to death about trimming the fat, but yet we find plenty more unnecessary people in the government.