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Taxes

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Post-game analysis over Illinois' new income tax hike has already hit the east coast media, and continues on the editorial page of today's Chicago Tribune.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and that state's House and Senate leaders (all Republicans) have an op-ed piece in the Trib today pressing their ``Open for Business'' theme: That Illinois residents and companies mad about the Illinois tax hike should head north, to the land of cheese and low taxes.

"To those who are frustrated with the high cost of doing business in Illinois, our message is clear: 'Escape to Wisconsin!' '' writes the trio.

One problem: Wisconsin's taxes aren't actually lower. Even with Illinois' new tax structure, its 7 percent corporate income tax is below Wisconsin's rate of 7.9 percent. Walker et al. get around this in their essay by noting that, if you add Illinois' separate personal property replacement tax of 2.5 percent on top of the new corporate income tax, Illinois is higher.

They completely ignore the issue of personal income taxes, perhaps with good reason: Illinois' new rate of 5 percent across the board is the same as the one paid by Wisconsin's lowest earners; Once you earn $10,220 in Wisconsin, its rate climbs to 6, and keeps climbing to 8 percent. (Missouri taxes at 6 percent on $8,000 or more of income.)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, the Democrat who pushed the tax hike, counters the Wisconsin invasion on the same Trib page today. "Facts are stubborn things,'' he writes, before pointing out some of the above.

The Illinois debate does seem to have encapsulated the wider ideological gulf in this country over the role of taxes in government. The edit pages of two book-end media giants -- The New York Times on the left and The Wall Street Journal on the right -- both have weighed in in recent days with the familiar arguments on both sides.

(Jimmy John Liautaud, the Illinois-based founder of the Jimmy John sandwich chain, has also weighed in: He's moving to Florida.)

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