Post Office Box 1147    Marblehead, Massachusetts 01945    (781) 639-9709
“Every Tax is a Pay Cut ... A Tax Cut is a Pay Raise”

46 years as “The Voice of Massachusetts Taxpayers”
and their Institutional Memory

CLT News Release
Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Cruel tax hike proposal deceives taxpayers, again

Contact:  Chip Ford, Executive Director


Yesterday the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center released a letter from “91 Massachusetts economists” to Governor Baker.  "Instead of budget cuts," the letter urged, "the state should look to raise revenues to balance its budget."


The “91 Massachusetts economists” asserted:


"States must run balanced budgets. In a recession, balancing the budget by cutting spending has a more negative impact on economic growth than balancing the budget by raising taxes. Both the personal income tax and the corporate tax are fair ways to do this, since they fall only on persons with incomes and businesses with profits. A one percentage point increase in the income tax could raise $2.5 billion per year while a one percentage point increase in the corporate tax rate could raise $180 million per year, even if the income tax base falls by 25% and the corporate tax base falls by 50% during this recession. These tax rates could be phased back as the economy returns to its pre-recession level."


“We’re all in this together” we are frequently assuaged, but inquiring minds would like to know how many of those esteemed 91 have missed a day’s pay over the past two-plus months shutdown and historic unemployment surge.  When and if the unemployed are unleashed to again earn an income it is going to take them months if not years to catch up to what they’ve already lost — if they ever can.  Yet the 91 want to victimize them further with an income tax increase.  That is nothing short of unnecessary abuse, further cruelty inflicted upon the victims.


But they assure us, “These tax rates could be phased back as the economy returns to its pre-recession level."


Perhaps their proposed tax hikes “could” be phased back, so they are not outright lying — but most of us know better.  Their proposed tax hike won’t beNot without a long, drawn-out-for-decades fight.


Crises are temporary.  “Temporary” tax hikes are forever.


That is not conjecture or hyperbole.  It is a statement of fact based on painful and hard-earned experience.  It comes from disillusioning historic precedent.


This would not be the first false promise made that a tax hike would be “only temporary.”  It took two statewide petition drives, a successful 2000 ballot question, then further roadblocks by the Legislature until just this year — three decades after the last false promise was made — to finally force the “temporary income tax hike” back down to five percent.


Now the 91 philosopher-king economists want to take taxpayers back to 1989 and start all over.


This current financial crisis is unlike a typical recession, even the rare depressions of the past.  Its genesis is not financial, not market-based, not cyclical.  It is and has been an intentionally self-inflicted abrupt shutdown of the entire economy in response to a once-in-a-century pandemic until “the curve” is bent.


Just three months ago, in February the Department of Revenue reported a 6.2% increase of revenue over the prior January; 4.9% ($794 million) year-over-year to date.  The prior Fiscal Year 2019 ended with a revenue surplus of well over $1 billion.  The dilemma for months on Beacon Hill was how to spend the windfall.


In March Governor Baker shut down the economy.


“’Never let a crisis go to waste’ has infected these economists’ thinking,” said Chip Ford, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation.  “While everyone else is thinking about survival and recovery, wondering if they can get back on their feet, hoping to catch up from their dire losses in the months and years ahead, these ’91 economists’ — many if not all of whom can be counted on to advocate for and support any tax increases — are already scheming to afflict more pain on the victims.”



You promised it’d be only “temporary”!

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Citizens for Limited Taxation    PO Box 1147    Marblehead, MA 01945    (781) 639-9709