Friday, November 14, 2008


In a shocking stunner, blue state Massachusetts is looking to eliminate the state income tax.

The history of taxation in Massachusetts over the last century is one of legislators forever indulging the state’s appetite and never prescribing a diet. The state’s first income tax, enacted in 1915, was initially presented as “a substitute, complete or partial, for the existing tax on personal property,” observed the Harvard economist Charles Bullock. But the income tax neither eliminated nor alleviated the property-tax burden, and it soon became a permanent levy, with the rate rising from 1.5 percent in 1950 to 5.3 percent today. During the mid-sixties, something similar happened when Republican governor John Volpe—in the strange world of Massachusetts politics, party labels confuse as much as instruct—crusaded for a sales tax while mainly Democrat antagonists in the state legislature battled against it. The sales-tax foes won the first six battles, but in winning the seventh vote, Volpe proved the old maxim that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try again. The sales tax was to last from April 1, 1966, to December 31, 1967, but over 40 years later, a mere two-day respite from it is cause for celebration.

Governor Ted, are you watching this one?


1 comment:

Ben said...

That would be something. Ohio should take a look at it.