“We shouldn’t tax people who just have enough to live on as highly as those people who have enough to live on plus a lot of extra discretionary income.”

Roger was a Hawai’i tax lawyer for 45 years. He says,

I have never met anyone who wanted to pay taxes, nor anyone who thought they had enough money. I understand that. But I also understand, however, that for some, the tax bill can be what shoves them over the precipice.

When Roger joined the IRS in 1967, the top federal income rates had just dropped from 90 percent to 70 percent. Later, Presidents Reagan and Bush II brought the top rates down to 50 and ultimately 35 percent. He believes those actions helped get us to our current extreme levels of income and wealth inequality.

Drawing on his expertise, Roger concludes that restoring the highest-income tax rates that were in effect from 2009 to 2015 to provide funds for low-income and working-class tax credits is “very efficient.” He explains,

The wealthiest get state tax deductions at higher federal rates… In effect, the feds absorb some of the cost of the increased state tax on the wealthiest.

Moreover, allowing those at the margins to keep more of what they earn incentivizes them to work. This also ensures that the money will, of necessity, be spent, not merely invested. This is good for working families and good for the economy…

I believe this is an excellent step toward remedying some of the inequities in our society — and addressing some of the problems consuming our state.

Roger also wrote about how the “State Needs to Step Up On Tax Reform” in an op-ed in Civil Beat.

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