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Taxes Not as Taxing in MA

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Monday, November 21, 2011   

BOSTON - That old "taxachusetts" label seems to be going the way of penny-candy and the payphone. Using the latest U.S. Census Bureau data the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that in fiscal year 2009, the amount of state and local taxes paid in Massachusetts as a share of total personal income was 9.8 percent, which is lower than in 32 other states. Against the steady drumbeat of anti-tax sentiment, some are saying it is time to take another look at revenue enhancement.

Rebekah Gewirtz, co-chair of the Massachusetts Campaign for Our Communities, says taxes have provided the foundation for attracting people and businesses.

"They come because of the infrastructure, the quality of the educated workforce, the types of communities we have and that we built, and the public transportation system."

The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities research indicates the state has been able to do all that while lowering the tax burden and, recently, running a deficit. In 1980, Massachusetts ranked fourth among all states in terms of total state and local taxes as a percent of personal income.

Gewirtz says the commitment to community through shared contribution has been proven to lift people up, but she fears the consequences of the current anti-tax mood.

"We are going to see more poverty and we are going to see more people struggle - more people who can't achieve this American Dream."

Those opposed to drastically cutting taxes rather than enhancing revenue with a larger contribution from the wealthy say making middle-class citizens shoulder the load when they are faced with acute challenges is a prescription for disaster.

The full report is available at www.massbudget.org.





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