EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 20, 2014

Column: April is the ideal time for taxpayer activism

As a taxpayer activist, I hate to admit I look forward to April 15, but I do. Of course I’m not spending the day working on my tax returns: I file as soon as I have all my documents. The state Department of Revenue responds quickly so I applied my state refund to the amount I owed the federal government after being required to take my first IRA distribution. Please apply it to reducing the national debt, guys.

What I like is that mid-April comes with taxpayer-activist activity. The Washington-based Tax Foundation economists calculate Tax Freedom Day, so we learn how many days the taxpayers in our state work for the federal, state and local governments compared to other states.

Last year, Massachusetts taxpayers worked until April 25, the fourth latest freedom date in America. This year it’s estimated that we’ll work four days longer, until April 29. Must have been that Democratic tax hike last year, or some local property tax overrides and Community Preservation Act votes, or maybe the impact of federal tax policy on our relatively high-income state.

The Tax Foundation also computes the state and local per capita tax burden: the latest data, for Fiscal Year 2012, shows Massachusetts’ burden is the fifth highest in the nation, $5,586 for every man, woman and child in the commonwealth, 32.4 % above the national average. So don’t let anyone tell you we don’t pay enough for essential services, if they were ever effectively provided by a well-managed state.

On Monday, Massachusetts will recall its taxpayer-activist history on Patriot’s Day, and last Sunday, modern patriots kicked off the season with the annual Tax Day Tea Party rally on Boston Common. This year I was asked by the Greater Boston Tea Party (GBTP) to be the keynote speaker.

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