Last year, Massachusetts residents overwhelmingly rejected an effort to do away with the state income tax and while we are in favor of low taxes we acknowledge that taxes pay for many essential services such as roads, police officers and firefighters. However, the rejection of Question 1 was not a sign that the voters wanted to be taxed more.
But Representative Jay Kaufman and the Massachusetts Teachers Association would like you to believe otherwise. Kaufman, who is the co-chairman of the Revenue Committee told State House News Service, “The last time voters had a chance to weigh in on a tax-cutting proposal that went too far, they voted in overwhelming numbers to support the tax even though none of us enjoy paying taxes. I would both hope for and anticipate a similar result. The only alternative to the increase in the sales tax was even further unconscionable cuts in public services. I think a healthy majority of Massachusetts voters understand that.” This comment came in reaction to a ballot initiative to repeal the recent increase to the state’s sales tax.
In a press release today, here is what the MTA had to say:
“Reducing the sales tax to 5 percent or below would be fiscally irresponsible. Legislators reluctantly approved that increase in order to prevent even more damaging cuts than they were forced to make in critically important state and local services. Irreparable harm would be done to public schools and public higher education if the sales tax were reduced. In addition, cities and towns would be forced to raise local property taxes to try to protect their schools, public safety and the quality of life in our communities. The voters understood this last fall, which is why they soundly defeated Carla Howell's income tax repeal ballot question.”
Whether or not the media will report it, the Legislature had an opportunity to prevent raising taxes by $1 billion. Increasing the sales tax wasn’t the only option. Republicans in the House and Senate offered hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings reforms. But real reform is hard work and the Democrats just weren’t up to the task. So, they took the easy way out, one vote to raise your taxes. Don’t let the Democrats continue to justify raising taxes by convincing you that because you didn’t want to repeal the income tax, you want to be taxed more. It’s a bad argument!