and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year, New Taxes?
Useful information for the New Year

For Immediate Release

According to the Washington-based nonpartisan Tax Foundation, the Massachusetts per capita state and local tax burden is 5th highest in the nation, at $5377 for every man, woman and child in the commonwealth. The national average is $4283 per capita. Tax increase advocates cite only the tax burden relative to personal income, which ranks 23rd. Either way, Massachusetts taxpayers are not undertaxed.

The gas tax was increased from 11 cents per gallon to 21 cents per gallon in 1990, to be used only for repair of existing highways and bridges across the state. Another 2.5 cents was added later. With all that money collected, with more popular SUVs using lots of gallons over that time period: Why are our highways and bridges still in need of repair?

The organizations that defeated Question 1 are reading their victory as support from the voters for new and higher taxes. CLT reads the defeat of Question 1 mostly as (a) self-serving votes from public employee unions who spent $7 million on the No campaign and (b) fear of higher property taxes if local aid was cut.

Some tax hike advocates want an increase in the sales tax rate. All legislators should be sent on a bus trip to New Hampshire border malls some Saturday soon.

The so-called Massachusetts Tax Foundation has been advocating expansion of the sale tax for at least thirty years. It succeeded in getting this passed in 1990, right before legislators realized their mistake and supported Governor Weld in repealing it in 1991.

We are hearing suggestions for an income tax rate ranging from 6.3% to 7.5%. That would teach voters not to oppose repeal of the income tax!

Naturally advocates are once again talking about creating a constitutional amendment for a graduated income tax. This could not be on the statewide ballot until 2012. CLT has defeated it several times, most recently in 1994 with 69.5% of the vote.

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