Only fair tax is graduated personal income tax

To the editor:

“The only good tax is no tax” just isn’t realistic. If the people want good roads, good schools, safe streets and other shared services, then taxes are a necessary “evil”; but they should be fair for all taxpayers.

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s flat-rate personal income and sales taxes and the public school, local and county government per capita taxes impact hardest on those who can least afford to pay them, and earned income taxes affect only the wages of workers, not the capital gains and dividends of wealthy investors.

Taxes on the value of property or on transfers of properties by public schools or by local and county government are necessary, but certainly not fair. Taxes on alcohol, gambling and tobacco, along with fees and taxes on TV and utility bills and fuel taxes barely affect those who can and should be paying higher taxes, the rich.

However, the only tax that would tax everybody with the same taxable income the same exact amount is not even legal in Pennsylvania, and that is a graduated personal income tax. This tax could be collected in smaller amounts on a pay-as-you-go basis, and it is based on a person’s ability to pay, not on a property or a person’s occupation.

If the Pennsylvania legislature and the voters would approve a constitutional amendment to legalize a graduated personal income tax, then all of the unfair taxes could be eliminated. That would reduce the cost and size of government at all levels, and lower the prices of previously taxed goods and services, including gas, which is now fifty cents a gallon. Imagine not having to pay any sales tax when you make purchases.

Yes, take home pay on paychecks would be considerably less, but it would go much, much further, and large tax bills on March 1 for local and county government and school tax bills on Aug. 1 would be a thing of the past.

Changing the state’s constitution is not an easy task. Nothing short of a well-organized taxpayer revolt, led by a charismatic leader with a dedicated membership committed to taking control of the state legislature, including the governor’s office, would be necessary.

In short, it’s up to the people if they want a tax that treats all taxpayers fairly.

David L. Faust