Why Illinois voters must say ‘no’ to a graduated income tax

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget plans, based on this new tax, are a shakedown of taxpayers. They should not be supported by the Legislature or the Sun-Times.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker meets with the Sun-Times Editorial Board on Feb. 20 to talk about the state’s budget.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker meets with the Sun-Times Editorial Board on Feb. 20 to talk about the state’s budget.

Rich Hein/Sun-Times

The Feb. 20 editorial “Case for graduated income tax grows stronger with new budget — or budgets” commends Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his budget message to the legislature.

In it, the governor offers one budget based on the voters passing on Nov. 3 an amendment to the state Constitution replacing the current flat income tax with a graduated tax. He offers a second budget based on the amendment failing.

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Pritzker and his 20 or so supplementally Pritzker-paid deputy governors, who are also state-paid employees — an unethical if not unlawful arrangement — have conspired to offer voters and taxpayers a quid pro quo: change the constitution’s income tax provision and in exchange we will restore full state funding to, for example, public education.

But, if no income tax change, then no full funding of state programs.

This is a sham, a shakedown of taxpayers. It should not be supported by the Legislature or the Sun-Times. It is a scare tactic — increase taxes or else.

Pritzker also is refusing to substantially reduce unnecessary state spending. 

Voters must say “no” to the income tax amendment if they want to stop unnecessary and excessive spending, which easily can be identified by means of zero-based budgeting.

Dennis Dohm, Oak Lawn 

Politics go topsy-turvy

Bernie Sanders’ showings in the primaries has put a sharp point on the state of our politics here and abroad.

Anyone can Google Sanders’ early life and be stunned by how openly he favored the Castro regime, engaged in multiple radical initiatives that could have been called giving support and comfort to the enemy, plus other shenanigans far enough left to raise eyebrows.

Have American politics gone so topsy-turvy that those lines drawn in the sand have been obliterated?

The political right once praised President Ronald Reagan for outspending Russia to win the arms race, and for telling Gorbachev to “tear down this (Berlin) Wall!”

Today our president denies Russia is our enemy, cozies up to their leader, President Vladimir Putin, and in the Oval Office hosts oligarchs left over from the Cold War as if they were bosom buddies.

Our security experts denounce Russia for its continuing efforts to supplant us, including meddling in our elections, yet President Donald Trump denounces them and denies it.

Yet what passes for today’s Republican establishment backs Trump 100% in this strange turnaround.

Is “pro-Russia” no longer a disqualifier? Does this preclude Republicans from denouncing Sanders’ early radical shenanigans if he is nominated against Trump?

Logic says it does, for how can they criticize Sanders for left-leaning radicalism in his youth yet condone Trump’s current radical I-love-Putin stand?

What are thinking voters to make of it? Is there no logic left in our politics? Only mindless Twitter wars? What of NATO? Global warming? Our trillion-dollar national debt?

Dollar arithmetic asserts its own undeniable logic.

Sanders promises to spend billions or more on his glittering projects, starting with Medicare for all, free college for all, and erasing billions in student debt.

As our economy stands now, each promise is beyond reach.

With the vested interests in Washington against such revolutionary change, plus inertia among the electorate, Sanders’ chances of defeating Trump seem dubious. But if he is elected, fulfilling his wish list will seem just as daunting.

If the adults are to be heard to preserve the sensible center, now seems the time.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

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