( – promoted by Paul R. Ferro)
Writing masterfully in today’s Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby pushes back against the latest argument for a state graduated income tax.
More than a century ago, the Legislature recognized the fundamental inequity of imposing higher marginal tax rates on higher incomes, a perpetual invitation to class warfare. Lawmakers refused to allow the practice in Massachusetts, even as most other jurisdictions embraced it, and they went so far as to write that prohibition into the state constitution. Plainly it is a stance that has stood the test of time, having been reconfirmed at the polls on five separate occasions.
Still, liberal Democrats like state Senator Jamie Eldridge, who has filed a constitutional amendment to overturn Article 44 and mandate graduated income tax rates, hope the sixth time will be the charm. Like every grad-tax advocate, his pitch is one part soak-the-rich envy, one part government-spending wish list, and one part feel-their-pain con job. Some concoctions improve with age. This isn’t one of them.
The nature of a one-party state like Massachusetts allows for class warriors like Jamie Eldridge to latch onto ideas rejected numerous times by the voters. The grad tax didn’t gain enough steam during the putative liberal regime of Deval Patrick what makes Eldridge and “Raise Up Massachusetts” think it’s going to pass this time?
It is not an idea whose time has come again… and again.