Happy New Taxes too?
inevitable as death: When voters last November rejected Question 1,
which would have repealed the state income tax, the Taxing Lobby
(TL) read that defeat as support for new state taxes in 2009. So now
they are making their list and checking it twice.
the TL dream list is a state graduated income tax — charging
taxpayers a higher rate as they move into higher tax brackets. Since
this requires a change in the state Constitution, voters must be
asked for their approval on a statewide ballot.
were asked in 1962, 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1994, and said "No thanks"
each time, by 83 percent, 70 percent, 67 percent, 73 percent and 69
percent of the popular vote. Citizens are no doubt thinking, "We may
be liberal, but we're not nuts," as they reject the idea of giving
Beacon Hill the power to pick us off, year after year, one tax
bracket at a time.
Legislature, which had been placing the constitutional amendment on
the ballot, gave up after the 1976 vote, so the Taxing Lobby had to
collect signatures to get it before voters in 1994. The leader of
that effort was Jim Braude, who had come from New York to become
executive director of the Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts
Braude has moved on, and now hosts NECN's "NewsNight" and co-hosts a
radio talk show with Margery Eagan on WTKK. In their first hour of
the New Year, he announced, "I give up. I have defended government
for my entire career and I give up." He and Margery then listed all
the government outrages that had occurred just during their holiday
will lead the 2009 tax battle? TEAM has become a "progressive" think
tank named "The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center" which can be
found through the Massachusetts Teachers Association Web site — not
to be confused with "The Public Policy Institute" run by longtime
liberal lobbyist Judy Meredith. Judy has founded "ONE Massachusetts"
which states on its Web site: "Our neighbors voted against Question
1 ... because voters understand the direct connection between the
health of our communities and the revenues that we use to support
their public structures."
Massachusetts Network has been conducting a "statewide debriefing
project to learn more from our communities and organizational
members: Which public structures do you rely and place value on, and
where do those structures need improvement? What sort of changes
need to be made to restore your faith that an increase in taxes
would be spent wisely and collected fairly?"
needed? How about abolishing Massachusetts government and starting
According to the Washington-based Tax Foundation, the Massachusetts
per-capita state and local tax burden is 5th highest in the nation,
25 percent above the national average.
Taxing Lobby cites only the tax burden relative to personal income,
which ranks 23rd thanks to the many wealthy people who live here.
Ordinary Massachusetts taxpayers are not undertaxed.
Nevertheless, suggestions for a 2009 tax increase include:
Patrick's local meals tax, that he defines for some reason as
"property tax relief."
so-called Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has been advocating
expansion of the sales tax for at least 30 years. Some of the other
businessmen, academics, and policy experts who opposed Question 1
want an increase in the 5-percent sales tax rate.
legislators should soon be sent on a Saturday bus trip to New
Hampshire border malls to count the Massachusetts license plates of
shoppers already avoiding the sales tax.
proposals for increasing the state income tax rate (since voters
said they like the income tax) from its current 5.3 percent to ...
well, one Democratic legislator proposes to increase the personal
exemption while increasing the income tax rate to 7.5 percent.
course that personal exemption would soon be reduced again, as it
was during the last fiscal crisis, while the 7.5 percent rate would
proposal is well-organized. Proponents began by threatening
ridiculously high tolls, hoping to get drivers, especially on the
North Shore, to plead for a gas tax hike instead. The gas tax was
increased from 11 cents to 21 cents per gallon in 1990, and was
supposed to be used for repair and maintenance of highways and
bridges across the state. Another 2.5 cents was added later. So why
are our highways and bridges still crumbling?
Patrick's new proposal for a state sales tax on online and catalog
shoppers, or tough enforcement of the existing law requiring us to
voluntarily pay taxes on out-of-state purchases.
patriotic Americans supposed to be buying more to help the economy?
What we need instead is a sales tax exemption for shipping and
handling charges paid on Internet purchases.
suggest that Question 1 was defeated by a $7-million campaign to
convince taxpayers that their property taxes would go up if state
taxes were cut. So where the Taxing Lobby sees an opportunity for
new taxes in 2009, the Tax Limitation Lobby sees the need to oppose
all higher taxes, including Proposition 2½ overrides that would
increase property taxes.
The comments made
and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.