Why DE Needs a More Progressive Income Tax

This talk was given on behalf of Delaware Americans for Democratic Action at its Rally and Vigil for Long-Term Budget Solutions (June 30, 2015).

I think we can all agree that the budget situation in DE is a mess! And it’s only going to get worse.

We are to the point where we don’t have enough money to fund essential services, and we can’t cut our way to a balanced budget. The current proposal is to make cuts. People think they are cutting the fat, but instead they are cutting into the flesh, into our lifeblood.

We are cutting down to the bone, and those who will be hurt the most are the most vulnerable among us. We cannot sustain cuts to senior centers, to fire companies, to law enforcement, to the county governments that serve our communities!

We need to raise revenue and the most sensible way to do that is to ask Delaware’s wealthiest citizens to pay their fair share. Right now Delaware’s 1%, people making over $860,000 a year, pay the same rate of income tax as families making only $60,000 a year! Does that make sense? No!

It would not be onerous on anyone, if we were to add a couple of brackets to the state income tax to make it more sensible and to prevent our quality of life in this state from being destroyed – and there are two bills on the table that propose to do just that.

House Bill 181 lays out a fair and reasonable plan to raise more revenue by adding two brackets to the income tax.  Right now people making anywhere from $60,000 to $860,00 and above pay 6.6% in income taxes. How does that make sense? HB 181 would increase tax rates on income over $125,000 to 7.1%, only a half of one percent more, and it would tax income over $250,000 at 7.85%, less than 1% more.

House Bill 196 also proposes to add two brackets but it also reduces income tax for those in the lower brackets.

Both bills would make the DE state income tax more progressive, and progressive taxation is definitely a good thing. In fact, it was Progressive taxation that underwrote the wide spread prosperity of the post WWII era, and doing away with progressive taxation is what ushered in the age of the 1% that threatens to destroy this country.

Finally, government spending on essential projects like building infrastructure creates jobs and prosperity, which is what we need for a prosperous future!

We need a sustainable source of revenue in Delaware. Please urge your representatives to vote YES on HB 181 and HB 196! Someone has to be the voice of reason here, and today that someone is us!

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