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Getting Rid of the MA Income Tax

9/11/2008 12:01:00 AM
I blogged a little earlier about this vote (here), but there was an article in the Globe today about the anti-income tax group's financial woes, so I figured the issue bore repeating. I was actually inspired enough by this ballot question to actually register to vote (for the first time in 4 years). I will be voting to get rid of the income tax.

Activists seeking to repeal the Massachusetts state income tax are running low on money and face a lopsided battle with a coalition of well-financed unions that will sponsor TV and radio ads in a bid to defeat the November ballot initiative, according to newly filed disclosure reports.

Howell's group, the Committee for Small Government, pushed a similar initiative that almost passed six years ago. At the time, Beacon Hill leaders paid little heed to the effort, and no one organized a campaign to fight it. But it got a surprisingly strong 45 percent of the vote, and the economic conditions this year seem even riper for supporters to capitalize on a sour economy, rising gas and grocery prices, and distrust in government spending.

Eliminating the income tax would save the average taxpayer $3,600 a year, but would also cost the state roughly $12.7 billion - about 40 percent of the budget. Governor Deval Patrick, as well as the Senate president and House speaker, have spoken out against the measure, saying it would cause dramatic cuts and force layoffs throughout state and local government.

Obviously losing 40% of the budget would be painful if not disastrous to the government. But I also feel like there is way too much waste in the government and this might cause them to have to run more efficiently and more cost-effectively. For example, I believe the Big Dig ended up costing somewhere in the neighborhood of $14 billion dollars .... about $10 billion more than the original estimated cost. And the darned thing didn't even work properly when it was finished. I would call that inefficient and wasteful.

Click (here) to read the Globe article.

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4 Response to "Getting Rid of the MA Income Tax"

  1. Suldog Said,

    The size of the opposition ad campaign is not always commensurate with success. The question has, in my estimation, about a 50/50 shot, despite whatever is thrown out against it by the unions and others with a stake.

    In reality, there are still many, who might be in favor of passage, who aren't even aware of it's existence. A big ad campaign by the opposition may do as much good for the supporters, in making those folks aware, as it will do for the detractors.

    Posted on 9/11/08, 8:43 AM

  2. Unknown Said,

    While I understand the idea of not wanting to pay income taxes and would love to not have them myself, as someone who works for a state community college, the thought of losing 40% of the state budget scares me. I agree it would be nice for there to be less waste in the government, but causing them to lose 40% of the budget isn't going to then make them more frugal in their management. Instead the cuts will be taken out by firing a lot of lower level employees, not giving teachers raises, not giving other workers raises, and further skimping on school funding. The powers that be will retain their jobs and any raises or bonuses they normally receive. It won't hurt them at all.

    Posted on 9/11/08, 9:32 AM

  3. Beantown Bloggery Said,

    To Gigi,
    I agree with you. Unfortunately, it's those that are at the bottom that will undoubtedly suffer the most. The guys at the top are going to do their best to maintain what they have. But despite this, I don't think the answer is to do nothing. I think those that plan to vote in favor of this are voicing their discontent with the government's current spending habits and hopefully reform of some sort will result.

    Posted on 9/11/08, 10:08 AM

  4. Dan Dan Said,

    I completely agree. There is plenty of waste and a little fiscal distress can only help. Having a finite and limited budget is something that every business has to deal with.

    If the state government didn't have such a huge budget, do you really think they'd pass a law that would force school's to spend up to $12,000 per toilet for a dozen more toilet seats on a high school with a thousand or so students?

    That's just one example of the excessive waste of the government. They need a wake up call that the blank check days of old are past.

    Posted on 9/11/08, 1:56 PM


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