CLT Memo to the Legislature
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

For the Sixth Time – NO to a Graduated Income Tax

Maryland imposed the so-called millionaire's tax in 2008 along with several other measures to help close a $1.7 billion budget gap.


And Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, does not intend to bring it back, instead promising to wipe out a projected $1.2 billion budget gap with spending cuts. . . .


Taxing the rich is more politically feasible than other tax options, said Joe Henchman, director of state projects for the Tax Foundation. It divides the opposition because elected officials can tell the majority of residents, “Don't worry, you won't be the ones paying these taxes,” he said.

CNN Money

January 13, 2011

Maryland millionaire's tax on the way out


“One year later, nobody's grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a 'substantial decline.' On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year — even at higher rates....


All of this means that the burden of paying for bloated government in Annapolis will fall on the middle class. Thanks to the futility of soaking the rich, these working families will now pay Mr. O'Malley's "fair share.”

The Wall Street Journal
May 27, 2009

Millionaires Go Missing

Maryland's fleeced taxpayers fight back.


A Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysis of federal tax return data on people who migrated from one state to another found that Maryland lost $1 billion of its net tax base in 2008 by residents moving to other states. That's income that's now being taxed and is financing services in Virginia, South Carolina and elsewhere.

The Wall Street Journal

March 12, 2010

Maryland's Mobile Millionaires

Income tax rates go up, rich taxpayers vanish.


Christopher Summers, president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, says Maryland had an enviable tax policy prior to 2007, but changes gave the state a “perception of a toxic tax environment” in which businesses and wealthy individuals are eager to leave.


“They are pushing accumulated wealth out of the state. People are willing to work here, but not dumb enough to die here.”

The Maryland Public Policy Institute

October 29, 2013

Tax flight: Millions lost as wealthier residents leave Maryland


“A state cannot balance its budget on the backs of the 1 percent most productive citizens,” according to a Heritage Foundation analysis. “They will leave and they are leaving. Americans are voting with their feet to keep more of their income.”


Maryland’s Comptroller agreed, concluding that the state’s population of millionaires decreased by one-third to around 2,000 in 2009.

The Daily Caller

September 1, 2015

Affluent Taxpayers, Jobs Fled Maryland Under O’Malley


"Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree!"

— U.S. Sen. Russell B. Long (D-LA)

Sponsor of the Earned Income Tax Credit


Dear Representative or Senator;


Tomorrow you are expected to vote to put another graduated income tax on the ballot in 2018.  This will be the sixth time this scheme to overturn the state constitution’s historic flat income tax has been attempted under different guises.  Under our state’s flat tax every taxpayer pays the same rate independent of the amount of that income.  What could be more “fair” than that eludes us, and voters have always agreed.  All five previous attempts have been resoundingly defeated on the ballots.


There are five solid reasons to vote “NO” on this proposed Constitutional Amendment:


1.  Massachusetts is an already heavily taxed state.  We don’t need to reinforce the image of Taxachusetts.  The voters are angry enough about higher taxes as evidenced by their rejection of the automatic gas tax increase on the 2014 ballot.


2.  This so-called “millionaire’s tax” will just drive millionaires out of the state, as Maryland’s misguided experiment proved.  It could be as simple as picking up a laptop and moving a few miles north.  The millionaires who have been providing hundreds of thousands – collectively hundreds of millions – in state income tax revenue would then contribute ZERO.  Along with Maryland’s example this has been the demonstrated results in New Jersey, California and other states.  It would kill the golden goose – resulting in an even greater burden being imposed upon non-millionaire taxpayers who will inevitably be expected to make up the difference.


3.  Article 48 of the State Constitution prohibits certain subjects from appearing on the ballot.  An appropriation of money is one of them.  Therefore, the extra revenue that supposedly would be generated by this tax would NOT go directly to education, repair of roads and bridges, public transportation, etc. as proponents falsely claim.  Instead it would all go directly into the general fund to be spent at the Legislature’s discretion, as is all other revenue.


Gov. Baker has recognized this.  In a recent interview he stated:  “There are a lot of people that have spent that millionaire’s tax six ways to Sunday already, and it hasn’t even made it to the ballot yet.”


Case in point:  When the gas tax was increased from 11 to 21 cents in 1990, it generated an additional $120 million in revenue.  All that money was supposed to go to the highways and bridges.  Instead, as AAA pointed out at the time in a scathing editorial, only $7.4 million actually went for its intended purpose.


4.  Does anyone really think if the proponents of the “millionaire’s tax” finally got their wish, that they will stop with millionaires?  Once the Commonwealth’s historic flat tax is abolished – and that is what this proposed amendment would do – the power to constitutionally tax at different rates will have been established.  It will be only a matter of time before the rest of us will eventually become their victims.


Lest we forget:  The usual cast of characters who opposed Proposition 2½, the reduction of the auto excise, the elimination of the 7½% income tax surtax, the income tax rollback – all which they couldn’t defeat – and the last graduated income tax ballot question that was soundly defeated are now behind this sixth Grad Tax assault.


5.  Maryland experimented with a “millionaire’s tax” in 2008 – but fortunately its legislature and governor did not handcuff themselves with a constitutional amendment.   They wisely included a “sunset” date at which it would need to be reevaluated and reauthorized.  When they recognized the disaster it had wrought, the experiment was terminated.


What is proposed in the amendment on which you will vote will be locked into our state constitution, an arduous process to amend.  When the results are recognized, like turning around an aircraft carrier there will be no swift means to reverse direction, to rectify the mistake before even more damage is wrought upon the Massachusetts economy and its less-than-millionaire taxpayers.


We urge you to vote “NO” on this misguided proposal.  We hope you don’t make the voters need to do it for the sixth time.


Citizens for Limited Taxation    PO Box 1147    Marblehead, MA 01945    508-915-3665