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Trump tax plan hurts middle- and lower-income people

President Donald Trump, (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

From the Trump one-page tax budget plan, it looks like some typical families would pay less tax, while others would end up paying more. The details are not clear, probably because nobody cared about that. Meanwhile, the massive tax cuts for the wealthy are quite clear.

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Cutting the top bracket from 39.6 percent to 35 percent doesn’t seem like much, but it would save millions for some very high-income taxpayers.

And for much bigger savings, by taxing the income of corporations and other businesses at 15 percent, it would probably enable many high-income individuals to structure their affairs to move much of their income into that 15 percent bracket.

The plan would also end the additional 3.8 percent Medicare tax on net investment income of higher-income individuals. And it would end the alternative minimum tax, which was designed primarily to stop high-income taxpayers from avoiding income taxes. Moreover, it would end the federal estate tax, which generally applies only to taxable estates currently exceeding $5.49 million per deceased individual.

What seems most surprising is that so many of Trump’s middle- and lower-income supporters still think he’s looking out for them.

David J. Roberts, associate professor,
DePaul University

False marijuana claims

I think that your editorial suggestion that Illinois slow down and wait on cannabis legalization is wrong. However, what really needs to be rebutted is the letter in support of your position submitted by Peter Besinger, former administrator of the DEA in Chicago.

Every one of his claims is false. The Colorado experience has been very positive. Teen usage has not skyrocketed; hospitalizations have not doubled; auto accidents have not risen. Even his claim that legal cannabis prices are so high that kids buy more from illegal dealers is false.

A 2016 study published by the CATO institute (which, by the way, has no connection to the cannabis industry), reports exhaustive statistics in each area addressed by Mr. Besinger, for Colorado as well as three other states where adult use of cannabis has been legalized. Mr. Besinger, the “war on drugs” that you pursued has been proven to have been a disaster. Thank goodness you are a “former” DEA administrator.

Tom Reiman, Highland Park

Trump irony

Isn’t it ironic that Donald J. Trump has embraced a Democratic icon such as Andrew Jackson while virtually ignoring his party’s greatest hero, Abraham Lincoln?

Bob Ory, Elgin

Private colleges, public funds

A few days ago, I was having lunch with a longtime friend in a faux-trendy hamburger place near Loyola’s Water Tower Campus. Over our lunches, we skimmed copies of the school’s student newspaper, The Phoenix, that were available on the counter of the place’s soft drink island.

The front page article (“MAP grant funding in jeopardy once again,” April 26) caught our attention. It was a piece about how the state budget stalemate was keeping Loyola students from getting financial aid through the state’s Monetary Award Program, or MAPS. For a number of years, I would read about the MAPS program and its funding issues, and I thought, or was lead to believe, that the program was for Illinois students at the state’s public institutions, not private.

Why are students at Loyola, or at other private colleges and universities in Illinois, receiving public funds? In a time when all of our state colleges and universities are struggling due to the budget battle in Springfield, the thought of public monies going into private coffers is more than irksome, my friend and I found it to be outrageous. If the student profiled in the campus article wanted state help to attend college, she — and others like her — should have enrolled at one of our fine state institutions.

Before the budget crisis, how much in state MAPS funds went to private colleges and universities? To which schools and to how many students, and in what proportion to their counterparts at state schools? According to the article in the student paper, the state eventually did pay Loyola $10 million to cover MAP grants for 2015-16.

While I might sound Grinch-like here, I am thinking of students at the City Colleges, UIC, Illinois State, and others. For every dollar going to students at private schools, how many students at public institutions are being given short shrift?

John Vukmirovich, Lemont