End the Income Tax

( – promoted by Patrick)

Carla Howell is back with her initiative to end the income tax and the moonbats have already started whining about the end of the world. Our current state budget is about $28 billion. If passed, the initiative would cut the state budget by about 40%. This would leave the state with $17 billion to use as they saw fit.

Would this mean the end of police, schools, and infrastructure? Hardly.

Currently, the state spends something like 9% of the budget on criminal justice, 23% on education aid, 17% on other local aid, and 11% on debt services. What does that add up to? Exactly 60% of the budget!

(Pessimism under the fold)

The truth is that eliminating the income tax is not unreasonable at all. In fact, given that we are losing population everyday and have the 2nd worst job growth in the entire country, I would say this might be the best idea to come around in a long, long time.

Of course this is still a pipe dream. The legislature will ignore us like they always do. We’ll be told that we can’t be trusted to handle our own money. The legislature will kill the initiative any way they can and politics as usual will continue in Massachusetts.

The truth is that the legislature is worried about losing $11 billion which they can use to create hack jobs, reward special interests with pork projects, and otherwise just waste on whatever suits their fancy.

Of course this does not mean that I think what Carla is doing is all in vain. In fact, I believe that it can only help Republicans. The more that Democrats ignore the will of the people, the worse they will start to look – even to people who usually support them. It can only give Republicans more campaign fodder when they run against pro-status quo incumbents.

So join me in supporting this initiative because it’s a step in the right direction.

About AuH2O

  • eury13

    Here’s a breakdown, courtesy of the Mass Budget and Policy Center, of the FY2008 general appropriations.

    – $1.3b in direct local aid to cities and towns

    – $4.9b in K-12 education funding

    – $1b in higher ed funding

    – $536m for early education

     (that’s $6.4b for education, for those of you keeping score at home.)

    – $1.9b for mental health and mental retardation services (not sure why those are listed separately)

    – $9.3b for healthcare

    – $538m for other public health programs (things like smoking prevention, teen pregnancy prevention)

    – $800m for Social Services

    – $1.5b for corrections and public safety

    – $758m for the judiciary (damn activist judges)

    – $1.2b for health insurance for state employees and retirees

    This isn’t a complete list, but it includes many of the big-ticket items (~$24.6b out of the entire $30.9b budget).

    Now, for those who want to cut the state income tax and reduce the budget by $11b, where would you take the money? Sure, I’m guessing many would get rid of DSS and scale back those silly public health programs, but that’s only $1.3b. You could get rid of all healthcare funding and that would even things out pretty quickly. Or deny all state employees and retirees their health coverage.

    I guess we could look at the other $6b that I didn’t list above. If it isn’t up there, it probably isn’t that important.

    – $232m for elder affairs

    – $662m for “other health and human services” (probably plenty of waste there… like emergency shelters.)

    – $598m for Transitional assistance and workforce training. Wait, welfare handouts are a whole 1/60th of the state budget?!? Scandalous!

    – $214m for environmental services

    – $176m for economic development

    – $127m for housing

    – $1.9b for debt service payments

    I suppose if we cut all social services and just stick to the basics (corrections, judiciary, and maybe a few bucks for education… maybe), then we could pare down our government pretty nicely.

    It’s easy to talk about handouts, pork, and waste, and I have no doubt there are some earmarks in the budget that most would consider frivolous. But when it comes down to it, all those add up to far less than the 40% of the budget that is funded through the state income tax. So tell me, where are we going to find the other $10 billion?

  • wavemaker

    and just say that it is plain and simply BALONEY that you can cut the state budget by 40% by eliminating waste fraud and patronage. There’s plenty in there, but there isn’t nearly that much. Eliminate that much revenue and a lot of people are going to be affected — and the state’s competitiveness and attractiveness will be part of it.

    I’m surprised at Patrick’s “not my problem” remark.

    You can’t advocate for that type of radical immediate revolution without carefully thinking through the “what if’s” so that chaos doesn’t result.

  • schulteraffe

    ….Tax Foundation there is a 3% difference in overall tax burden between Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  By all accounts New Hampshire excels in the social services that it offers although it certainly offers less than MA by comparison.  NH also lacks any actual urban locations and has little to no public transport.  Considering the differences between the two states, even if the MA income tax were abolished it is very unlikely that the 5% savings would last for very long.  Even by the most conservative estimates property tax, sales tax, meal tax and perhaps other new taxes would creep up to cover the difference.  Considering the administrative nightmare and inevitable chaos that would ensue it is perhaps even likely that after all corrections our overall tax burden would increase.  Of course, because of the switch to reliance on consumption taxes the new scheme will burden those at the upper end of the income spectrum the most, most certainly increasing their burden.  It would relieve those at the lower end.  In essence we may end up with a de facto progressive taxation scheme.  The big question is where will the middle end up.  If stasis is achieved it will have hardly been worth it and if the middle class burden increases it will be unfortunate indeed.  Perhaps the overall burden for the middle class will decrease, which is presumably the aim.  The possibility exists but it is hardly a gurantee.  Only time would tell.  File this one under “careful what you wish for” because things could actually get worse.

  • Vote3rdpartynow

    I would be happy if we could just get it dropped to the 5% that was promised by the legislature umpteen years ago.

    I see a snowball’s chance of the income tax being eliminated.  And, we can sit and debate whether Massachusetts is in the top 5% of overtaxed citizens or the bottom 5% of overtaxed citizens all day long, but what it really comes down to is whether we get what we pay for.  We are paying for the Rolls Royce of government, but we are getting the Yugo.

    Everything we do from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep we are paying taxes on.  I pay taxes to drive the roads, fuel my car, buy Christmas gifts, earn an income, everything.  What do we get for it???? Nothing.

    We live in a state that is losing citizens faster than any other state.  As citizens leave so do the businesses and the jobs they provide.  Our state legislature spends its days debating the merits of Fluffernutter limits and determining whether the state “cookie” ought to be chocolate chip or tollhouse.  The legislature is full of baboons and morons – every single on of them….

    We don’t get what we pay for.

  • BrocktonDave

    I think this is just the tool to show the people how the dems will throw the decision to the winds as soon as the ballot measure passes…

    I would actually advertise the question this way.

    Like the times we voted against seat belt laws, and they were enacted anyway.

    Like the times we voted for the death penalty and it was dismissed but the legislature.

    Like the times we voted to return our tax rate to 5% after 19 years of “temporary.”

    The democrats will quickly tell us how foolish we are, and that it can’t be done, and will vacate the ballot question that they do not want to abide by.

    And hopefully the sheep will stop marching to the slaughter.

  • The Angelic One

    I hope the comments made thus far regarding the abolition of the state income tax doesn’t reflect the actual state of mind within the Massachusetts Republican Party.

    Some individuals want us to be Libertarian Lite, follow Carla Howell’s lead, & expect Bay State voters to continue to take the GOP seriously after the party associates itself with a fringe group whose measure will be defeated again by said voters. Other individuals may not want to join the Libertarians but have no problem voting for the measure either as a way to “send ’em (Democrats) a message,” or as a way to cause mischief (so long as the ripple effect doesn’t act as an undertow & pull them under). Still other individuals argue against the act of abolition because they support the status quo & can provide the data to back up their assertions. Is there another way to look at this issue? I think there is.

    I have no doubt that the Libertarians will collect enough signatures to put their issue (& remember, it is THEIR issue) on the ballot. The Democrat status quo, having learned its lesson from its last near death experience, will launch a counter offensive consisting of its new shock troops (like BMG), its reliable network of allies (NGOs, trade unions, think tanks, & so forth), & a variety of local & state leaders. That along with a barrage of media-driven propaganda will convince enough voters that an abolition of the state income tax will imperil the paradigm to which said voter has been accumstomed. If they succeed in pulling out all the stops, the Democrat status quo might even produce a result that is less than 45% of vote totals (& should that happen, expect said Democrats to crow over how many “wise” voters have “saved” themselves by “saving” the state from a fate worse than death).

    So what’s a Republican/conservative (communitarian, not hardcore libertarian) to do? First, let the Libertarian Party do its thing & successfully put the measure on the ballot. While they do that, the GOP should contact its conservative think tanks to put together a variety of proposals that reflect smaller government (much like town/city managers present proposals to elected officials when said officials must weigh whether or not an override must be on the ballot & if it be done menu-style). While that happens, the Republican Party leadership can launch a drive of their own – to put on the ballot yet again a reduction of the state income tax back to 5% backed up with candidates running on THAT issue.

    Doing this benefits the GOP by 1) reminding voters that Republicans have not forgotten the desire of the voters to get rid of the “temporary” tax foisted on them by the Democrats & will fight to make it a reality; 2) presents an alternative to the Libertarian proposal that is more reasonable, thus making the GOP appear more reasonable than the Libertarians; 3) forces the Democrats to either defend the status quo (despised by the public) & denounce both measures or embrace the GOP measure as a tactic to avoid any voter backlash (& minimize casualties) & do nothing once the election is over.

    Once the conservative think tanks come up with their proposals, the Republican leadership need to reduce their ideas into a theme to be used by the candidates they recruit. Let the Democrats scream that the Libertarians are the barbarians at the gate; the GOP can then use a two prong approach: “Yes, what the Libertarians are proposing is barbaric but their barbarism has been caused by a corrupt Democrat machine which controls ALL the levers of state power. They’re good people driven mad by the corrupt Democrats who still refuse to honor their committment to lower YOUR taxes BACK TO FIVE PERCENT (damnit!) We Republicans have sponsored a measure to yet again reduce YOUR tax burden; we also have some good candidates who will see to it that YOUR taxes WILL be reduced. Please help US to help YOU by voting for OUR measure AND for OUR candidates!”

    THIS approach will force conservatives to either join the Libertarian approach or join the Republican approach. With a systematic state-wide game plan in place, the GOP then excites its candidates, excites its base (“IT’S ABOUT TIME, DAMNIT!”), & excites those voters who continue to yearn for real leadership on the tax issue (among others). It will present Democrats with a problem; the smart activists will try to get enough RINOs to derail this approach. Let ’em try – all it’ll accomplish is expose RINOs stupid enough to unmask themselves as RINOs & be subject to a future primary challenge. Republicans were stupid (or in the tank with Democrats) the last time this happened & consequently they were viewed by the public as part of the problem (hence the voter “wake-up” call coming in at 45%). If the GOP wants the voters to embrace them, the party has to earn said voters’ affections. My idea regarding the state income tax is one way to do it. Don’t let the Libertarian dictate the conservative dialogue, Republicans! Seize the day!