EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

March 12, 2014

Letter: Unfair taxation looming in Massachusetts again

To the editor:

On Feb. 25, wire services released a report that a committee known as the Tax Fairness Commission appointed by the Massachusetts Legislature was expected to recommend a graduated tax to levy an increasing burden on high-wage earners and supposedly a lesser burden on low-wage earners. The recommendation will be delivered through a constitutional amendment aimed at replacing the the state’s current flat income tax of 5.2 percent.

The commission will also recommend increases in certain exemptions and tax credits to provide income tax relief on low-income individuals.

“Were looking at fairness,” said state Sen. Michael Rodrigues, a Westport Democrat and co-chairman of the 15-member panel created by an amendment to the transportation bill of last July. “The question is, is it fair that the poorest pay a higher percentage of their income to taxes than do the richest? We tried to address that in a specific, but not too specific, way.”

The problem with this ruse is that it has been tried before. The taxpayers of Massachusetts are protected by the state constitution that mandates level taxation across all income levels. But progressive Democrats have assaulted this provision with ballot initiatives for decades. The last one was soundly defeated by voters in 1994.

Massachusetts voters need to be aware of this development and be prepared to defeat this ballot question if it materializes again. The progressive aspects of a graduated tax scheme will never work in Massachusetts since the state’s spiraling spending patterns on social programs, including those gripped by massive abuse and inefficiencies such as the EBT program, will cause all citizens to have their taxes increased.

If this constitutional amendment is passed, there would be a lowering of the boom as individual tax brackets would selectively be snared for increases beyond 5.2 percent. This phenomena is illustrated well in California, a state that has embraced the graduated tax system and has seen its fortunes decline as a result. Individual taxpayers are charged 6 percent at a paltry $27,897 annual income and a whopping 9.3 percent at $48,942. The medial household in Massachusetts according to the US Census is $66,000. Therefore, the cream of middle-income earners in Massachusetts, the so called “working class,” would be the primary recipients of a “graduated” ( higher) level of income taxation. The blow to fledgling businesses and job creation will be devastating.

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