Special interest groups and their supporters have once again started the drumbeat for higher taxes. This time they are trying to rally people to their cause with some good old-fashioned class warfare as they are proposing to get rid of Massachusetts’ current tax system, replacing it with a progressive tax structure. Voters soundly rejected this idea by a 2-1 margin the last time it was proposed, and I hope that they will see through the propaganda and vote it down again.
Of course, the people who support a progressive income tax say that this tax will only affect the rich. However, these same special interest groups have already supported increases to the current income tax on every taxpayer, the gas tax, and the sales tax, which disproportionally targets low-income taxpayers. Their goal isn’t tax fairness or to close the wealth gap. Their real goal is the same as it’s always been: to increase taxes on all taxpayers and to fund more and more government spending. If we amend the Massachusetts Constitution to allow for a progressive income tax, we will be making it easy to increase the taxes on everyone, one tax bracket at a time.
Here in Massachusetts, we are leaders in science and technology, with a highly educated workforce. However, if this tax increase is passed, there will be a significant drag on our economy, which will have an impact on ALL citizens. In our increasingly global economy, the high-paying jobs that still exist in Massachusetts can easily be relocated to other states or countries. All one has to do is look at our neighbor, Rhode Island. It has a progressive income tax that at one time topped out at 9.9 percent. But the state in 2011 lowered its marginal tax rate to 5.99 percent, which makes it more attractive to businesses with high-earning employees..
I agree with Governor Baker when he stated that we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. According to the Tax Foundation, the average taxpayer in Massachusetts works until April 29 just to pay their taxes, later than in all but four other states. At the same time, we had the highest per capita state debt burden in the country as of fiscal 2012. We need to control spending and reform government in Massachusetts. We do not need to raise taxes and continue to saddle our future generations with debt.