Politics

Massachusetts Is for Income Tax Lovers

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One of the more heartwarming (and hopeless, to be honest) ballot initiatives in play yesterday was the one that would have ended Massachusetts' state income tax. It got its ass kicked, with only 30 percent of voters in the place that gave us the Boston Tea Party and more voted to end the income tax.

Ah well, Sam Adams, brewer-patriot, rest in peace. You gave it your best shot lo those many years ago. We always disappoint history.

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  1. I know alot of people who voted no on 1, not because they didn’t want to get rid of the tax, but just because they thought it was too rapid a transition for our bloated, unwieldy state government to handle, especially during budgetary problems.

    If we weren’t having those problems, I bet it would have been much closer. Sigh.

  2. Didn’t this come within a hair’s breath of passing like four or six years ago?

  3. Libertarian Democrat and Warren-

    It was either in 2000 or 2002 that the income tax repeal initiative garnered 45-46 per cent. Yes, the economy was in much better shape, then

  4. Didn’t this come within a hair’s breath of passing like four or six years ago?

    Something like this, yes. I imagine that the first poster is correct, and that lots of people were more willing to cut taxes with state finances looking better.

    Or perhaps it’s a sign that all those coastal areas turning away from Republicans aren’t looking for libertarians, either.

  5. It seems to me that a bad economy would be exactly the time to keep the money at home instead of sending it to the state.

    Keeping me fed outranks keeping state employees fed.

  6. I have too much work to do today. I can’t afford to bitch-especially in light of the fact that my fellow bay staters didn’t want to lighten my load.

    Yeah, I’m happy about Question 2’s passage. However, its kinda like the passage of a civil union initiative-nice, but not quite the same thing as marriage.

  7. libertymike,

    It will do good. And make people feel safer exercising their rights (even if there are repercussions still). It’s a win, and hopefully a foot in the door to greater change down the line.

  8. So the tally in MA is– keep the income tax, lighten marijuana penalties, ban betting on dog racing?

  9. I am a proud part of that 30%. I emailed and talked to my friends and colleagues, I did all I could do. It’s a sad, sad day (prop 8 looks like it will pass over on the west coast). People seemed to be opposed for mainly selfish reasons (e.g. home owners fear of rising property tax or “My spouse works for the state”). Nobody really gave it an honest and hard look. I guess the bright side is that when I now hear people bitching about taxes, I can ask them how the voted on Question One. Maybe my fellow citizens will stop using the obnoxious moniker “Taxachusetts”.

    An interesting note, my church, Old South Church the congregation that hosted the talks leading up to the Boston Tea Party, made a MAJOR push against Question One. Sad that a church that has done so well to progress over time, a church that lead the way for our nation’s independence, that lead the way for same-sex marriage, that has a woman for Senior Minister and a gay man for an Associate Minister so vehemently opposed freedom this election year.

  10. So the tally in MA is– keep the income tax, lighten marijuana penalties, ban betting on dog racing?

    I’m willing to bet SIV is a little pissed. ‘Specially about that last one.

  11. People seemed to be opposed for mainly selfish reasons (e.g. home owners fear of rising property tax or “My spouse works for the state”). Nobody really gave it an honest and hard look.

    Since when is the selfish look not an honest look?

  12. The Massachusetts economy is heavily distorted by the state government. A large number of people depend on the state intervention for their sustenance. The notion that people will demand more goods and services if they are allowed to keep their earnings is not enough to overcome their fear that they won’t be able to make ends meet with the state funnelling less wealth their way.

    It’s a shame really.

  13. If this had passed, the taxes would still have happened, the burden would have shifted to property tax. The problem with that is that this would have immediately hit the elderly and probably many middle class people in ways that forced them to immediately sell their homes (at a time when the market is terrible) because they could no longer afford to live in them. Taxes would also either have to be passed on to renters or rental properties converted to something else, which would have affected lots of people adversely. Concluding that this was about the love of taxes and not just about common sense understanding that not every bull-in-a-china-shop proposal is a good one seems a bit much. I’m glad the population had some good sense about this and didn’t just pretend they could vote themselves the proverbial largesse from the treasury; as a result, Democracy continues to stand to another day.

  14. I live in MA, and am very disappointed by my fellow citizens taking a stand for bloated gov’t. We have multiple very highly paid police at every construction site, to make sure things are safe. Note that they’re not directing traffic – they just sit in their cars, or watch the workers work – I’ve NEVER seen a cop direct traffic at a construction site, in the nearly 10 years I’ve lived her, and I’ve passed countless construction sites. They do love their waste and corruption here – it’s almost enough to make me a free state project recruit.

  15. They do love their waste and corruption here – it’s almost enough to make me a free state project recruit.

    So, um, why don’t you, then? NH is a stone’s throw away, it’s an income tax paradise, and they have *absolutely no problems* with state solvency.

    Also, no cops at construction sites.

    And tax-free maple syrup. (Tastes better, I swear!)

  16. The Massachusetts economy is heavily distorted by the state government. A large number of people depend on the state intervention for their sustenance.

    The New New Deal of the Obama administration will ensure that this pathology becomes even worse nation-wide.

    And that is exactly the plan. The Dem strategy for becoming a permanent majority is predicated on exactly this: the more you depend on the government, the more likely you are to vote Dem.

    The Repub counterstrategy – the ownership society – broke up on the rocks of Repub stupidity, corruption, and love of power that could only be exercised through Big Government Conservatism.

  17. If this had passed, the taxes would still have happened, the burden would have shifted to property tax.

    Or, they could have drastically cut spending. Or, a bit of both. Or, raised the sales tax.

  18. Kent Pitman – glad to see you bought the government’s argument hook, line, and sinker. Of course, they would never, ever cut spending to keep them from “taking old people’s homes”. What a crock of shit. I’m certain the politicians will now gladly cut your taxes for saving their asses. Yeah, right. You got played, sucker.

  19. It’s cute how you cite the Boston Tea Party as an example of why Massachusetts should have no income tax, as though (regressive) consumption taxes/tariffs and (progressive) income taxes are exactly the same thing and should be thought of exactly the same way.

    Also, voting against income tax doesn’t do anything about the number of policemen sitting at construction sites. Even if you can name specific examples of government bloat or corruption or what have you, decimating the state’s revenue (1) doesn’t guarantee those things will be what gets cut and of course (2) doesn’t guarantee other (less progressive) taxes aren’t simply increased to make up the difference.

  20. thoughtcounts —

    From wherever you wandered from, you surely entered a place where your arguments re: progressive taxation will not find a pleasant reception.

  21. Of course, they would never, ever cut spending to keep them from “taking old people’s homes”.

    Patrick already cut spending as revenues have been falling. But what it comes down to is, people want their government services and they don’t want to shift the burden onto property owners at a time when mortgage foreclosures are rising.

    We want our libraries, public transport and other amenities, and we’re willing to pay for them, even at the cost of some waste. What business is if of anyone else’s? As someone whose mother is one of those senior citizens in danger of losing her house if property values go up, I was only interested in voting in this election to defeat Proposition 1 (except I missed the registration deadline.)

    In any case, the state portion of my income tax has always been tiny. The person who mentioned “Taxachusetts” must have spent the last few decades frozen in a glacier.

  22. I subscribe to this blog and find it interesting. I didn’t “wander” from anywhere. While I don’t agree with literally everything I read here, I do really like the emphasis on… oh, what would you call it? That’s right — reason.

    I can see an argument for why you wouldn’t want to tax rich people more money, but I do think any reasonable person can understand marginal utility arguments and wouldn’t want to go out of their way to tax poor people way *more*. Even if you don’t think that “progressive” is a synonym for “good,” surely neither is “regressive.” Unless you’re advocating eliminating all government revenue entirely and shutting down 100% of function (which is a little farther than the usual libertarian platform), I still think my argument stands.

  23. thoughtcounts —

    I agree with you somewhat on progressive taxation. My point was you were assuming a great deal about how such an argument would be received which indicated either you didn’t know your audience or didn’t care.

    FWIW, “reason” does not exist absent the very real and human contexts in which it is applied. Inside those frames necessarily are subjective points of view and personal prejudices.

  24. Elemenope,
    Despite being a stone’s throw away, I have a lot of friends that I live with and/or hang out with a lot. If I moved to NH, I would be more than 2 hours from my gf’s house (she lives west), and my housemate would be more than 2 hours from work (if he moved with me). I also hang out with friends multiple times a week, and I currently live at the center of their various locales, and if we moved our meeting place north, some of them wouldn’t be able to make it at all, and if we kept it the same place, I’d be looking at 1 hour of driving to hang out with them (all those times are one way). As frustrating as my government is, moving is more difficult than throwing a stone, even if the distance is the same. Perhaps when I’m married and looking to buy a house though….

  25. CSFive –

    I’m sorry, I was being flippant at your expense. My point was that NH *does* have income problems, and waste. People around here talk kinda starry-eyed about a world without income tax, when we know from those states that don’t have one that it doesn’t really solve a thing.

  26. CSFive,

    The state legislature passed, and Governor Patrick signed, a bill eliminating the requirment for uniformed police to direct traffic at construction sites last month.

    The fact is, a 40% reduction in the state budgest would have gone well beyond any “waste, fraud, and abuse.” This was a back-door attempt to change through the purse strings what Carla Howell and her band of merry men couldn’t convince the public to do in a straightforward manner – support a significant reduction in the services provided by the state government. People like our best-in-the-national public school system. They want more, not less, spending on transportation infrastructure. They want the state to help cover poor people’s health care. The large majority of Bay Staters simply do not agree with you about the proper scope and size and government, and rejected Question 1 because it would have made the type of government they want impossible.

  27. I just spent six month working in MA. I thought the taxes on everything but cigarettes were very reasonable. Especially income tax at a flat 5%.

    I mean, as a libertarian, I like the flat tax idea.

  28. joe,
    Thanks for stating the obvious. Massachusetts is for statists. That’s fine by me, since I never intend to live there, but its a waste of bandwidth to restate it here.

  29. As a new citizen of the state, I thought a lot about voting Yes on #1, but in the end it was simply too drastic. I certainly don’t like taxes (hell, I voted for Paul…) but the plan was just unreasonable. It would have done severely bad things to the state overall. They need to take things slower, you can’t just cut out billions with a stroke of the pen.

    I’m glad that #2 passed though, that’ll have to be the tax cut for now until people come up with a better plan than annihilating such a large chunk of cash and crippling the government by it.

  30. Good job morons voted no in fear of higher taxes in other areas And guess what a week later they jacked the tolls up over 3 dollars in some areas and gonna raise fuel taxes lmao stupid moonbats

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