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Thread: Repeal state income tax? (Ballot Question #1)

  1. #16
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    Nov 2005
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    726

    Default Thought people might enjoy this...

    Dan Wasserman cartoon on Question 1.

  2. #17
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    Default Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation Report on Q1

    Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation Press Release on Q1

    Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation Full Report

    Summary: Because much of the budget funds legally mandated programs, remaining services would need to be cut by 70%. For many, the necessary offsetting increases in property taxes would exceed their income tax savings.

    It may feel good to "send a message" and vote for Q1. But its impacts would be devastating. Don't believe the angry messages of Q1 supporters. Their numbers are made up, and their ideas are dangerous.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 10-09-2008 at 12:56 PM. Reason: add link to full report

  3. #18
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    Nov 2005
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    Default

    Amazing... on the Yes on 1 website, there is a Quotes and Endorsements section. The only quote is from Carla Howell's husband (guess what? he's for Q1), and the link to endorsements is... broken. How sad, we can't tell who is for Q1. I did a Google search and found a grand total of one public endorsement for Q1 - it was written by a college newspaper columnist. Get that kid in some economics classes!!

    The site provides a link to their source data for the 41% of our tax dollars that are wasted: it's a survey that was conducted of 500 Massachusetts voters. No actual research done, they just asked a bunch of random people what they thought, and then they put that number all over their posters as though it's a fact. It's MADE UP!

    Carla Howell will tell you that the average taxpayer would save $3700, but she won't tell you that 2/3 of taxpayers would save less than $850 (BIG difference between average and median -- high income taxpayers would save considerably more than $3700). For people on fixed incomes, they're not going to save anything, but their services would be cut, and their property taxes would rise if town services were not to be dramatically cut. It might be a big win for the very rich (and then only if they don't care about services at all), for most people it's just a huge loss.

    Many people think this cut in taxes can just eliminate fat. I don't know how hard they have looked for this fat (and certainly there is some), but cutting every single employee would only make up half the revenue loss. (source: Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation report, page 5)

    Much of the state's budget is mandated programs, so the cuts on non-mandated programs, would be huge, 70% on average. What are non-mandated programs? Things like prisons, the entire court system, the Department of Motor Vehicles, state police, snow and ice removal from state roads, regional transit authorities, support to state colleges, home care and prescription advantage services for seniors, food stamps, communicable disease control, food protection, head start grants, safety inspections of workplaces.

  4. #19
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    Wayland MA
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    Default

    A Harold J. Wolfe of Framingham had a letter to the editor included in today's Metrowest Daily News. He makes the odd point that all those planning to vote against Question 1 are net consumers of tax dollars.

    Here's a related Metrowest Daily News article and set of comments, including a comment that I contributed.


    hjwolfe, according to the Wayland Finance Committee, net state aid in 2008 was about $4.5M (page 7).
    http://www.wayland.ma.us/accounting/...04%20FINAL.pdf

    That averages out to about $900 for each of the roughly 5,000 households. Let's assume that passage of Question 1 eliminates that state aid, such that residents would need to pay an extra $900/year to preserve existing services.

    How much of a savings would these residents see with no income tax? In 2007, the average household income was $124k.
    http://www.city-data.com/city/Waylan...achusetts.html
    I don't know what the average *taxable* household income was (if anyone knows of a source for this, I'd be interested in knowing it), but let's say half of that, or $62k. At 5.3%, that comes out to over $3,200 (it's likely higher than that, since Question 1 proponents estimate that the statewide average is $3,700, and Wayland is likely higher than the state average).

    On paper, not a bad deal, right? Get $3,200 back, pay $900 of that in taxes, then use the difference to buy a flat screen TV, take a vacation, or pay for a set of braces for a child's teeth.

    Interestingly enough, however, if you drive through Wayland, you'll see far more "No on 1" signs than you will see "Yes on 1." Apparently, at least some people are voting based on something more than their own self interest.

    But that simply can't be. You know how I know? Well, I read it in the newspaper today. In a Metrowest Daily News letter to the editor, someone named Harold J. Wolfe (coincidentally, not all that different from your online handle) wrote "Those who will vote no on Question 1 on November 4th, all have one thing in common. They are net consumers of your tax dollars, ..."

    In short, you're incorrect: many people voting no on Question 1 are net *contributors* of tax dollars. Why would they do that? Perhaps because they know that Question 1 is, to use the language of proponent Carla Howell, the real sham, one that will put a real hurt on many Massachusetts residents, some in Wayland but far more outside the Town's borders. The $3,700 average tax saving is misleading (median would be much better), the "41% waste" number is made up (by people who likely have almost no understanding of the elements of the state budget), and the proponents refuse to even suggest where that waste might be.

    I've looked at the state budget and commented on Question 1 on a Discussion Forum run by Wayland eNews.
    http://www.waylandenews.com/forum/showthread.php?t=178
    40% goes to health care, 21% to education, 9% to human services, 6% to debt service, 5% to public safety and corrections, and so on. Is there any waste in the state budget? Undoubtedly. Is it on the order of 40%? Impossible. In fact, I'll bet that "waste" is more on the order of 0.4% (if that), or 1/100th of Ms. Howell's fantasy. Should we cut that waste? Absolutely. Should we destroy our budget and harm our fellow citizens to do it? Absolutely not.

    Please vote no on Question 1.
    Last edited by Jeff Dieffenbach; 10-23-2008 at 11:33 PM. Reason: Typo correction.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default Budget Game

    Here's an interesting exercise for those interested in Question 1. Design your own budget at the Boston Globe's Budget Game. See if you can design a reasonable budget with available revenues should Question 1 pass.

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