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Question of the day

Friday, May 10, 2019

* Sun-Times editorial

As part of an effort to build political support for a graduated income tax in Illinois, state Senate President John Cullerton has proposed repealing the state’s estate tax. His hope is that some Republicans and Downstate and suburban Democrats —who loathe a graduated income tax because it taxes wealthier people at higher rates — might warm to it in return for ending the estate tax, which they also loathe.

We think this is a bad idea.

At a time when our state and nation are threatened by historical levels of inequality, where the richest 1 percent hold 40 percent of the wealth, we can’t see the wisdom in eliminating one of the few direct ways to check this dangerously un-American trend.

There’s an argument for revising Illinois’ estate tax to make it less of a burden on, say, family farmers, by increasing the threshold at which it kicks in and pegging it to the rate of inflation. Since 2013, the graduated tax has been levied on estates valued at $4 million more. The first $40,000 to $90,000 is taxed at .8 percent, while values above $10.04 million are taxed at the highest rate, 16 percent.

Some Chicago Democrats also pushed for the bill after feedback from their constituents.

* The Question: Abolish, modify or keep the estate tax as it is? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…

online polls

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - A guy - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:47 pm:

    Taxing taxed money again is unfair, not to mention what calamities is causes for families who then become prevented from accepting the stewardship for family businesses and farms. This tax always sucked.

  2. - 47th Ward - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:47 pm:

    I voted abolish it because I think it’s a fair way to introduce a graduated tax. God bless John Cullerton, he is so committed to bi-partisan compromise that he brokered this on behalf of Republicans in the Senate. He loves making a deal so much that he can represent both sides of the negotiation.

  3. - NIU Grad - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:49 pm:

    It might be a good way to grease the skids for some people to support a graduated income tax, but it doesn’t seem to be working at the moment (possibly because it was introduced first, and not as a negotiation compromise). As of now, it just seems like an unnecessary sweetener for wealthy Illinoisans.

  4. - Truthteller - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:50 pm:

    The state is digging itself out of a fiscal hole. Why in the world would you cut the taxes of the very richest people in the state when you’re confronting a mountain of bills?
    These folks just got a huge tax cut from Trump. The last thing they need is more money.

  5. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    Abolish. Illinois needs tax policy geared towards keeping wealth from fleeing to other states.

    “Twelve states and the District of Columbia impose an estate tax while six states have an inheritance tax. Maryland is the only state in the country to impose both”

  6. - Techie - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:54 pm:

    Absolutely no way it should be abolished. Keep it or modify it so as to allow families to pass down their business to the next generation. But among other things, the estate tax serves the purpose of preventing aristocracy and oligarchy. We don’t want to be a nation or a state where rich families continue amassing and passing down wealth, and simultaneously political power. Just look at Trump - someone who is terrible at running a business and making a profit, yet continues to thrive because of inherited wealth. That’s the kind of thing the estate tax should be aimed at eliminating - children of the wealthy succeeding in spite of not contributing to or bettering society.

  7. - wordslinger - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:54 pm:

    Keep as is. From the vote in the Senate, it’s highly unlikely to flip any GOP votes in the House.

  8. - Truthteller - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    Someone has to pay the state’s bills. It should be the people with the most money. Why would the Democrats want to give this huge gift to Rauner, Griffin, and other extremely wealthy Illinoisans who are the only ones to benefit?
    They just got a huge tax cut from Trump. Why would the Dems want to give them more?

  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    If the GOP decides they want to participate in the prices, I voted Abolish.

    Being optimistic.

    Never reward for inaction or stalling.

  10. - SpfdNewb - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:57 pm:

    Voted keep as is because I do not know enough about estate taxes in Illinois. I am ok with modifying it to exempt or reduce the amount taxed on family farms/small businesses.

  11. - Honeybear - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 4:00 pm:

    Keep it as is. Income inequality is only going to get worse. We would leave a lot of revenue on the table abolishing it.
    No war but class war

  12. - Evanston - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 4:01 pm:

    My Maternal Grandfather was a farmer. All my Grandparents had was their land. They had to borrow from the bank for crops every year. Tribute to one of the best Albums ever — “Couldn’t buy the crops to plant that Spring and the farmers bank foreclosures. Called my old friend shipmen up to auction off the land. He said John it’s just my job and I hope you understand. Calling it your job old friend sure don’t make it right if you want me to I’ll say a prayer for you sole tonight”

    Brings tears to eye eyes every time that I hear it

    Their Farm was not foreclosed but it got too expensive to survive and they had to sell it in 1974. My Grandfather died not long after.

    I support family farmers

  13. - Anyone Remember - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 4:30 pm:

    The estate tax was created by President Roosevelt - the one on Mount Rushmore.

  14. - MG85 - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 4:30 pm:

    I voted to modify.

    I find no sympathy for the difficulties heirs face when they liquidate assets to collect a fortune. I wrote it before and I’ll write it here again, if the estate tax is such a burden to someone, he can leave the $10,000,000.00 to me and I’ll figure out how to give the government 16% of that fortune so I can keep the rest of the money I did nothing to earn.

    As to how I would modify the law, I would make it a simple graduated scale with some additions:

    $0.00 - $1.99.99 mil - 0%
    $2 mil - $4 mil: 5%
    $4 mil - $10 mil: 16%
    $10 mil - $50 mil: 25%
    $50 mil - $150 mil: 35%
    $150 mil - and up: 45%

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