Letter to the Editor:
State legislatures are faced with huge budget deficits that must be dealt with. Because of massive federal cuts in state aid, states have had to cut state services. If voters have not already discovered this, there is also the reverberating negative effect that cuts in state aid have on local government. Given the GOP's focus on spending cuts and opposition to tax increases, its 'scorched earth' spending-cut policies will cause irreparable damage to vital state services.
Local governments are faced with raising taxes merely to keep functioning. The end result will be increases in taxes, whether federal, state or local -- or a combination of all three! The task before state legislators is going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, if taxes are not raised. Tax increases have become an imperative -- it's only a question of who will pay for those increases.
Increases in sales taxes is not the answer; it's one of the most regressive taxes, affecting those in the lower to mid-range income brackets the most. It's income taxes that must be raised (progressive taxation according to ability to pay).
Four things that would go a long way towards reducing deficits: the federal government should increase the marginal tax rate for those with multi-million-dollar incomes, increase the tax rate on unearned income from 15% to 25%, retain the Estate Tax on those with multi-million-dollar inheritances, and scrutinize wasteful spending on Defense.
Wealthy taxpayers already have had substantial tax cuts. It's time they pay their fair share!
Paul G. Jaehnert
Vadnais Heights, MN
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