Skubick: Graduated income tax plan heats up

(WLNS) – No matter how you look at a graduated income tax plan you’re sure to find controversy. A recent poll found that 57% of the voters in Mid-Michigan favor a graduated income tax which means the more you make, the more you pay.

With the exception of West Michigan, the entire state supported the graduated income tax and even in the Grand Rapids area it has 49% support. For over 50 years Democrat have wanted to scrap the flat rate income tax whereby everybody pays the same tax rate regardless of how much you make.

But for over 50 years Republicans have rejected a tax system that is based on your ability to pay the more you earn, the more taxes you pay.

Enter Democratic Rep. Jim Townsend with new polling data. According to EPIC MRA’s Bernie Porn, 66% favor or lean toward supporting the graduated tax while 25% oppose it. “I think we need to make sure that the wealthiest in the state as well as the business owners are paying their fair share,” said Rep. Townsend. “We rank 48 out of 50 in terms of the percentage that we ask our businesses to contribute to our taxes. People don’t stand for that.”

But his GOP consultant Bob Labrant argues, many taxpayers will end up paying more if this passes. “One of the things voters don’t like to do is increase their taxe,” said Labrant. “Some people might benefit by a graduated tax but most people would feel that they are paying a lot more than the current rate.”

In order to change the tax system, two-thirds of the legislature would have to vote to place this on the statewide ballot, but with the GOP controlling both House and Senate that appears highly unlikely.

Which, according to Rep. Townsend, leaves one other option, a statewide petition to get it to the ballot.”There’s no guarantee. we are trying to put out the case for this and in the wake of proposal one, we need tax equality first.”

And that drew a response from consultant Labrant. “They can go ahead and do a petition drive but that is doomed to failure.”

There was one income group opposed to the graduated tax: those earning more than $100,000 a year.

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