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Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of May 31, 2010

Readers write in about the budget deficit.

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Progressive taxation worsens budget deficits

Regarding the May 10 column "Best tool for cash-strapped states? Progressive taxes."

Karen Kraut's argument that raising progressive taxes is the best way for states to be dealing with their budget crises is both misguided and dangerous. The idea that we can trust government to "pick the right taxes" is naive at best.

The fact is, many states have already begun to see the consequences of using progressive tax hikes, massive borrowing, and budgetary tricks to prop up more government spending.

In 2008, at the onset of the recession, Maryland implemented a "millionaire's tax" instead of making spending reforms. A year later Maryland was home to a third fewer millionaires, and it's expected to face another $1.5 billion deficit in 2011.

Lawmakers should instead be adopting spending reforms that would help prevent budget deficits from recurring. Relying on steeply progressive taxes put many states, including California and New Jersey, in dire fiscal situations.

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