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Tax strain on citizens

By Jim Killebrew

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[April 17, 2014]  What goes around, comes around is almost the way of history. Eventually something that happens will return and happen again  maybe not exactly the same way, but close enough that it can be related to the same incident. Things have a tendency to come full cycle. It is a truth that a person's actions will have consequences for that person and others close to that person.

I read in the Lincoln Courier on Saturday, April 12, where a writer was complaining about the city leaders imposing a tax on our energy usage by having the energy company collect a tax listed on the individual payment bill as "Lincoln Municipal Gross Revenue Charge" and another one listed as "Lincoln Municipal Charge." Apparently every person in the city must pay that tax that is collected by the energy company and handed over to the city leaders to spend at will.

It hasn't been too long since the leaders of Lincoln were given a "penny tax" of 1 percent that was to be dedicated to the schools in Lincoln solely for their continued maintenance. Subsequently we have read various accounts of how the district schools have planned to spend their "windfall" from the "penny tax." Another story in the Lincoln Courier not too long ago reported a property tax of over $7,000 levied on a newly built property in Lincoln; the builder was having a difficult time selling the property with such a high tax.

The state political leaders are in the process of deciding to make a 67 percent increase in taxes, enacted as a temporary tax, a permanent tax, while at the same time offering a budget that continues to support out-of-control spending when the state is already sitting at 49th to 50th in negative economic standing nationwide. One only need examine the state's taxing structure and spending plan to understand why Illinois is in such a fiscal free-fall.

Tax and spend seems the mantra from the Stateouse to the executive mansion. Between the speaker of the House and the governor, we need to be prepared to have already dwindling fixed-income checks plummet further.

Of course the federal government is drunk on taxes, spending and favoring everything unaffordable. In recent months we have seen increases in taxes, increases in health insurance deductibles and higher premiums. Even with deep cuts to the military, we continue to see a rise in spending that has skyrocketed the national debt to unprecedented amounts.

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I heard on the Rush program on tax day, April 15, a snippet of information, while driving to the bank to get money for taxes to pay over the amount that was deducted last year, that there have been 472 tax increases since the president was inaugurated. He reported statistics that the top 1 percent of wage earners pay 30 percent of the total federal tax receipts.

He said that the top 20 percent of wage earners account for 60 percent of the total tax receipts; the bottom 50 percent pays "next to nothing." He said those in the 20 percent group include families of two parents and two children where the parents combined make $150,000. For a family of four, that is not a lot of money, yet they are part of the group that pays 60 percent of the tax. It makes you wonder where the tipping point is when revolution will be considered by "We the People."

Consider that after federal taxes are paid, the family still has state taxes, local taxes, property taxes and all sales taxes. The net income is dwindling so quickly people are barely making ends meet.

All of these positions from government promise to make life a lot more difficult on the average citizen if they don't pay up. Back in the day, that form of shakedown used to be referred to as a form of hustling from a strong-arm neighborhood hoodlum running a protection racket: Pay up or give it up. Can't we do better than that in our town, our state and America?

[By JIM KILLEBREW]

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