and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

April 14, 2005

April 15th and the Massachusetts Tax Burden

New tax burden data has arrived just in time for April 15th tax filing deadline, as the House budget is released without Governor Romney’s income tax rollback, and as the so-called Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation releases yet another timely report on its bęte noire, the ongoing "structural deficit."

Just to put it all into perspective:

According to the Washington-based Tax Foundation, which reports estimated tax burdens for each tax year:

  The Massachusetts per capita state and local tax burden for 2005 is 4th highest in the nation, 22.4% above the national average.

  The commonwealth collects $4,608 for each man, woman and child in Massachusetts, compared to the national average of $3,763 per capita.

  If federal taxes are included, the Massachusetts total per capita tax burden is $14,648, compared to the national average of $10,834. This makes us the third highest taxed "capitas" in the country, 35.2% above the national average.

  "Tax Freedom Day" in 2005 is April 17th on average nationally, but April 24th in Massachusetts. Bay State taxpayers will work one week longer for the government than other states’ taxpayers on average.

Source:  The Tax Foundation’s "Tax Freedom Day" 2005
For per capita data, open the PDF report, pp. 11-13, tables 4 & 6.

The commonwealth, which must provide services for a certain number of men, woman and children, takes more to accomplish this than other states. Massachusetts is not suffering from a lack of taxpayer dollars: it is suffering from a lack of institutional reform and an excess of "status quo" which created and feeds the ongoing "structural deficit" (i.e., the difference between what government wants, and what the state can afford).

We are disappointed that the House Ways & Means Committee budget does not include the income tax rate rollback that is in Governor Romney’s proposed budget. The "temporary" income tax hike of 1989 is sixteen years old this year. The rollback from 5.85% to 5% that was passed by the voters in 2000 was frozen at 5.3% in 2002, just before voters almost repealed the income tax altogether.

Restoring the tax rate to 5% was promised, then mandated, and is long past overdue.

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