Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

No income tax for Mass residents?

It’s a wild idea that I’ve been giving serious consideration to: abolishing income tax for Massachusetts residents. My friend Michael posted a link this morning to the article from the New York Times outlining both sides of the proposal. In my opinion, the journalist seemed to favor voting “no,” however, emphasizing the negative responses from the people he interviewed.

Those who are against the proposal fear the loss of income to the state would worsen our financial crisis.

Those who support the proposal seem to view their vote as mostly symbolic, expressing their anger at government waste.

How would saving “the average taxpayer about $3,600 a year” a loss of about $12.5 billion a year, “roughly 45 percent of the state’s budget of about $28 billion” actually affect Massachusetts? Would schools suddenly shut down, hospitals and police crumble? Or would those things that make our state function–unnecessary jobs and wasteful goods–be organically pared away?

My only caveat about this proposal–“Question 1” on the ballot–is the possibility of higher property taxes. Depressing.

Funny thing that I didn’t realize is that seven states do not impose income tax, among them New Hampshire. Makes you wonder, if these states can manage without individual income tax, why can’t Massachusetts?


Filed under: government, Massachusetts, politics, , ,

9 Responses

  1. Brian G. Lewandowski says:

    The odd thing is that New Hampshire property taxes are on the average double those in MA. Our tax rate here is one of the lower ones in the country.

    One way or another, you will have to pay for basic services like infrastructure and schools which mostly come from state monies.

    I lived in Georgia where property taxes were lower but there was a tax on food and some medications. If you remove the cost of owning property in Massachusetts, my expenses were pretty much the same here as they were there.

    I think it’s just a fact of life… I am sure waste could be cut but it’s the flaw of a system that is a Republic trying to be functional in a market economy.

  2. Aaron Weber says:

    If they were to put forward a state budget that was 40% smaller — specify what they would cut if they were in charge — I’d think it made a little more sense. But I don’t think they know what they’re cutting — they just want to burn things down.

  3. NH says:

    This is a lie by Lewandowski! Property taxes are NOT higher in NH than Mass.

    We have the second lowest per capita taxes IN THE NATION. This might change if the Dems get their way. The UN is always here trying to get people to buy an income tax. Note that Conn and NY have income, sales, AND high property taxes!

    If Mass repeals their income tax, I’ll move back!

    PS – Down with Obama who wants to send $850BILLION to the UN — this can’t possibly help us now can it?

  4. Tena Nelson says:

    South Dakota did not have a state income tax when I lived there during college (I have no idea if they do now). However, at that time, they also ranked #50 out of the 50 states in what they paid their teachers.

  5. Pete Nice says:

    To NH, How in the hell can you say NH doesnt have 2X the higer real estate tax as MA? My brother lives up there and pays almost 3X as much as I do in a house that is less than half the worth.

    Just go look online at real estate prices in towns in NH and MA. It is clear as day as to what you taxes you get for the price you pay for your home.

  6. akm says:

    I’ve heard tell that NH has almost no social services — those in need are left to cross the borders into Vermont, Mass or Maine. Portland, in particular, has become a haven for the downtrodden in hopes of receiving basic social services that Mass. makes available to virtually everyone (provided you are willing and able to navigate the bureaucratic channels. Something to consider when questioning the wisdom of abolishing a State income tax. Now, a Federal income tax…

  7. Brian G. Lewandowski says:

    NH… comparative to the percentage of your property values, your property tax is double. My property tax on a house here is $3500K … my family in Hudson NH for an even lesser house pays $6800. Please don’t lie like a McCain.

  8. And just another comment about property tax. People need to also remember that increased property taxes don’t just affect homeowners, since property owners will pass down the cost to their tenants.

  9. thinkingdem says:

    See the Mass Taxpayers report to gain a fuller appreciation of the craziness of this proposal…


    Don;t be fulled this is a suckers bet…

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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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