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Gaspard: Hit rich with city income tax

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Evanston mayoral candidate Gary Gaspard called Thursday for a muncipal income tax on higher income residents.

Speaking at a candidate forum at Family Focus in the city’s 5th Ward, Gaspard framed the new tax as a way to pay for affordable housing programs.

Gaspard has also coupled the call for a new tax with a promise to freeze property taxes for two years.

The idea of a progressive municipal income tax has been floated in Chicago for several years, but has gone nowhere.

One problem is that the state constution bars any income tax other than a flat-rate tax that taxes people at the same percentage level regardless of income.

The other is that even a flat-rate local income tax would require the approval of the state legislature, which has shown little inclination to support the idea for Chicago.

A 2011 analysis by the Chicago Inspector General’s office noted that opponents fear a local income tax would drive businesses and residents out of the city, while proponents say it is more fair than other taxes it links the amount owed to the resources available to pay it.

Although they all voiced support for affordable housing programs, none of the other candidates for mayor joined Gaspard’s call for a local income tax during Thursday night’s forum.

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