and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

"Movin’ On Up"

Taxpayers State of the State:  We’re Taxachusetts Again
State and local tax burden has risen in Massachusetts since turn of century

For Immediate Release
January 14, 2004
Contact: Barbara Anderson - 508-384-0100

In the year 2000, the Massachusetts tax burden ranked 5th per capita, and 23rd relative to personal income.

In the year 2003, the Massachusetts tax burden ranked 3rd per capita – 30.3% above the national average; and 13th relative to personal income.

Whatever the concerns about the state of the state, it’s not the fault of taxpayers, who are paying more per capita than taxpayers in 47 other states, and more relative to personal income than taxpayers in 37 states.

The data is provided by the Tax Foundation:  [Special Report, page 13, table 6]

The point of this release is that we’re movin’ on up! But for those who have not looked at these charts before, here is how they are read.

The only line required for "per capita tax burden" is the line with the amount paid by each man, woman and child in a given state (total population is the basis for any "per capita" measurement). The state and local taxes are divided by the number of people in a state so that comparison can be made, for example, between California and Wyoming. On the top line, the national average is $3,150. On Massachusetts’ line, it’s $4,106. This is generally the money generated by each person (per capita) to cover services for the same number of people. ("Per capita spending" usually is close to the tax burden.)

Now add the number of states listed with higher amounts, and you will find only two: Connecticut and New York. That gives Massachusetts the third-highest tax burden of any state in the nation.

Liberals use the "personal income" computation to determine what level of taxation each state should be able to "afford," and argue that because Massachusetts’ personal income is high, we should be able to afford higher taxes. To which CLT says, "who’s ‘we,’ Sumner Redstone?"

Nonetheless, note that even relative to personal income, Massachusetts has moved up from 23rd highest to 13th. Despite demands for new taxes and wails of "devastating cuts" coming from the demonstrators’ choir at the State House, when it comes to taxes ... we’re movin’ on up!

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