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Proviso Probe

Friday, December 09, 2005

TAX, why are taxes going up?

"The rich get tax breaks while homeowners get tax hikes."

This line is from my column in the Forest Park Review.

There are two major problems causing local taxes to increase, both are the responsibility of the federal government.

Republicans have promoted "local control". A major reason the GOP likes the idea of local control is that they want to shift both the control and the cost of government services to state and local government.

Why is it important to shift the cost to local government? The federal government gets most of its revenue from income taxes which disproportionately hit the rich. Local government gets most of its revenue from property taxes which disproportionately hits the middle-class. (State government gets its revenue from more diverse sources, but typically uses the sales tax which disproportionately hits the poor.)

The Democrats are fucking incompetent not to call the tax shift for what it is, but...

The other reason local taxes rise faster than inflation is that health care costs rise faster than inflation. Government primarily provides services. Most of the tax money goes to personnel costs. (In manufacturing a business can offset rising personnel costs if material costs drop. Government can't do this.)

So providing the same level of services from one year to the next costs more money because health care costs are out-of-control. Again, this is something local government can't control. It needs to be addressed in Washington.

So local government tries to nickel-and-dime taxpayers. Let's look at this week's news articles. How many involve stories about tax increases or creative ways for local government to get revenue?

1. West Proviso Herald (David Pollard) writes about the Bellwood PD seeking a state grant.
2. Suburban Life:
The La Grange Park Village Board unanimously approved a 61 percent increase to the village's property tax levy over the prior year...

3. Suburban Life (Megan Brody): "Brookfield weighs new municipal tax".
4. Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues): "Brookfield looks to raise commuter parking fees"& Suburban Life (Megan Brody): "Brookfield may double commuter parking rates".

Plus most of the stories about development are really driven by municipal government trying to shoehorn in as much taxable development as possible.

So much of what gets done on the local level is driven by tax considerations, but we never discuss our underlying assumptions about taxation and health care.

Shouldn't the Democrats be making this case to critique the GOP agenda?


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