Flat state income tax shows promise

San Jose Mercury News (CA), May 12, 2008

Flat state income tax shows promise

How can anyone disagree with the Pacific Research Institute’s report (Opinion, May 9) that a flat state income tax (3 percent) would be simpler, more fair and much less subject to cheating than our current, complicated system? I say it’s time we set an example for the other states as well as for the nation. We can even add a temporary 1 percent, to expire in one year, to go toward reducing our budget deficit. An added benefit would be a large number of bureaucrats would be required to go out and get productive (hopefully) jobs.

Charles Tucker
San Jose

San Jose Mercury News, May 15, 2008

a flat state tax

Charles Tucker, (Letters, May 12) supporting a Pacific Research Institute report, makes three claims: a flat state income tax would be 1) simpler, 2) fairer and 3) less subject to cheating than the current system. Anyone who thinks 2 percent of $5,000 plus 4 percent of $10,000 is significantly more difficult than 3 percent of $15,000, needs a course in remedial arithmetic. Tax complications are in definitions of deductible items, exceptions to general rules, exceptions to exceptions, and other technicalities. The biggest simplification by far would be to base state taxes on federal taxes, say 10 percent of the amount paid to the IRS (or 5 percent of the first $10,000 plus 15 percent of the excess). As to fairness, that is in the eye of the taxpayer (but a large majority think a graduated tax rate is fairer). As to cheating, the tax rate makes no difference whatsoever.

Peter Boyle
San Francisco

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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