One of the key advantages of a flat tax is that it becomes much harder for the politicians to play divide-and-conquer. If they want to raise the income tax rate, they arouse the anger of all taxpayers. With so-called progressive tax systems, by contrast, politicians can raise taxes on a minority of people one year and then target another group the following year. The latest evidence showing the political advantage of a flat tax comes from Illinois, where Democrats control both chambers of the state legislature, as well the governor’s mansion, yet the Democrat-dominated State House overwhelmingly rejected a plan to raise the flat tax from 3 percent to 4.5 percent. Every Republican in the legislature voted no, even though two former GOP governors (and RINOs in good standing) sided with the various pro-spending lobbies and urged them to screw over taxpayers. The Chicago Sun Times reports:
Dealing Quinn the biggest legislative defeat of his 17-week governorship, the House voted 42-74 against his push to temporarily raise the income tax rate for individuals from 3 percent to 4.5 percent. Sixty votes were needed for passage. …Unable to nail down the income tax increase, Quinn is in an epic bind. If he can’t convert 29 Republican and Democratic income tax opponents to “yes” votes in the coming weeks, Quinn must cut billions of dollars in vital state services as he gears up for a 2010 gubernatorial run later this year. The top House Republican pinned blame for the tax plan’s failure on Springfield’s ruling Democrats, who could not put together a balanced budget despite having comfortable House and Senate majorities and a governor with whom they can finally work after ousting ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. …”People say ‘just stop the spending,’ and I agree with them. I claim a victory here for those folks,” said Rep. Randy Ramey (R-Carol Stream). …Quinn’s two-year tax hike wasn’t the only legislative money-maker pushed to the side Sunday night. The House opted against voting on a permanent, larger income tax increase pushed by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago). That proposal, which narrowly passed the Senate late Saturday, would have boosted the income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent and imposed $1 billion in sales taxes for the first time on an array of services, ranging from movie tickets and dry cleaning to cable and Internet providers. But House Democrats were polled in a closed-door meeting Sunday about the Cullerton-Meeks plan, and only 35 offered support, and no Republicans were on board, leaving it 25 votes shy of passage leading up to the midnight Sunday deadline.