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Sen. Don Harmon: A third option beyond flat tax, fiscal cliff

In an op-ed piece in The State Journal-Register, State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) says a fair rate tax structure would not only solidify the state’s finances, but “provide 94 percent of Illinois residents with a tax cut.”

Harmon says such a move would prevent the drastic cuts in vital services while still allowing the temporary income tax to be rolled back.

A fair tax, with lower rates for lower incomes and higher rates for higher incomes, would give nearly every Illinoisan a tax break — from a minimum-wage worker to a person earning nearly $205,000 a year — without the need to continue Illinois’ unfair, regressive flat tax ad infinitum. Meanwhile, services such as education, health care and public safety would not need to face another round of massive budget cuts that put Illinois citizens and the state’s economy at risk.

He goes on to say that letting Illinois fall off the fiscal cliff has major consequences.

Driving Illinois over the fiscal cliff means cutting another 13,400 teachers from the classroom. It means denying 95,000 kids access to early childhood education. It means the release of 15,000 inmates from our prisons. It means laying off thousands of corrections officers and cutting the state police by 30 percent. It means telling tens of thousands of college students they won’t get MAP grants to help make a college education affordable. It means sending our state’s finances into a downward spiral and taking our fragile economic recovery down with it.

Harmon estimates a fair tax would provide a tax cut of $272 to a minimum wage worker, while those making the state’s median income ($55,371) would get a $303 tax break. And those making $200,000 a year would also get a break — of $90.

Via State Journal-Register