To be clear, as a retired couple living on social security, a public employee pension and savings, we have no objection to a tax on retirement savings.
Earned income of those over 65 and who are working is already taxed in Illinois.
For years – and it has been years now – when I write about the attacks on public employee pensions someone will inevitably send me a comment about why Illinois doesn’t tax retirement income.
For years I responded that I agreed that some level of retirement savings should be taxed in Illinois if it were part of a broader system of fair taxation.
I did question why going after retirement savings was the first thing some people came up with rather than going after the ultra rich who got away with paying the same state income tax rate as working folks.
Or they paid nothing at all.
For years Illinois has been a state with a flat tax rate.
But things have changed some.
Now we have a chance to pass a constitutional amendment that would create a progressive income tax. That is a good start.
But the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board is still is bent on scapegoating the elderly for the state’s “financial woes.”
Taxing retirement savings over $100,000 a year works for me.
Taxing retirement savings is not, as the Sun-Times claims, “key to ending our (the state’s) financial woes.”
The key to ending our financial woes is to tax the rich and to stop giving tax breaks to giant corporations.
The scapegoating of the elderly is captured by this false choice:
Should we hit up, say, a middle-class truck driver who earns $50,000 a year? Should he or she pay more in state income taxes?
Or should we first hit up a retired corporate lawyer whose income in retirement tops $1 million a year. Right now, that lawyer doesn’t pay a dime on any pension he might have.
We’re on the side of the truck driver, and we bet you are, too.
Of course. Tax the corporate lawyer and his million bucks.
However, the elderly and the retired workers in Illinois are not mostly millionaire corporate lawyers.
Very few are rich.
To protect their wealth, the rich in this state organized a public relations campaign to justify stealing the earned pensions of public employees by painting us as greedy.
We are the reason the state couldn’t fund schools, for example.
Another false choice: Schools or pensions.
They’re still at it.
The truth is that the essential reason for the state’s financial woes is the failure of the rich to pay what they they owe.
Even if it is easier to blame old people.