It seems that politicians never have enough money and work hardest to come up with easy ways to get it. In addition to the taxes we already pay, and the $7 million Watertown has received from the lottery as Unrestricted General Government Aid in fiscal year 2022, there never seems to be enough money.
In their latest “how can we get more money” scam, politicians have targeted people with taxable income over $1 million. Apparently, those people aren’t paying their fair share.
Be careful when issues are framed in an ‘us vs them’ context. This approach is often used by politicians and others to elicit a tribal response. We all want to belong to a group where we can find support and people with the same ideas. Politicians want an emotional response. “Why do we pay a fair share while they do not?” Look at how many times this tribal division tactic is used — the vaxed vs. the unvaxed, the truth tellers vs. the conspiracy theorists, the whites vs. POC and in this case the fair share payers vs. the cheaters.
How was it determined that the ‘rich’ aren’t paying their fair share? The proposed Question 1 does not say. A tax of 4 percent will be levied on taxable income (already being taxed, mind you) over $1 million. Who determined that those not paying a “fair share” are people who have a reportable income over $1 million? Why not $5 million or $10 million? Who determined that an additional 4 percent would make things fair? Why not 2 percent or 3 percent? Could it be that those proposing the question determined that 4 percent would be interpreted as a reasonable amount but 5 percent would not be supported? Both the income amount and the tax amount seem to be arbitrary and are not supported at all in the text of the question.
This Question has the potential to affect many people in our community. Who are the rich people who are not paying their “fair share”? Are they corporate big wigs who scoff at the common taxpayer or are they our family members, our friends, our relatives and our neighbors who have worked hard all their lives — just as we all have — and saved and invested. We then deem it “fair” to penalize them for their success? Look past the emotion and look at the potential affects on people in our communities.
If there are issues with the current tax laws that, when followed, create an unfair divide between people with wealth over $1 million dollars and those with less, then why aren’t the politicians who are pushing Question 1 working to change the current tax code to be more fair?
Why aren’t they working to close all of the tax “loop holes” we always hear about that make taxes unfair? Is that not a job of our elected officials? I am troubled too, that our local elected officials are lobbying in favor of this ballot question. Elected officials are supposed to support the will of those they represent. Before our City Council members and School Committee Members came out to support of this question, did they determine that this was supported by those they represent?
Personally, I see Question 1 as another money grab tax by politicians who never seem to have enough of our money to spend. I urge people to read the entire text of Question 1 before deciding how to vote on the issue. I for one will be voting NO.
It will be the voters of the commonwealth that will voted for or against the Fair Share amendment, not politicians.
That’s the “will of the people”.
Very well articulated. Do people realize that when they sell their home, they will be paying the 4% for anything over a million dollars. A lot of homes in Watertown are selling over a million dollars. We have worked hard and invested in a home and this bill will penalize us when we sell our property. Also, the proceeds of this tax is supposedly going to infrastructure and education but, the state legislature can redirect the tax proceeds, which should frighten everyone. I am not a millionaire, by any means, but do not like the part where the legislature can change where the money goes…..
I am perplexed by your argument. This has nothing to do with politicians being money grabbers. This has to do with a progressive tax in order to fund education, infrastructure, etc. It doesn’t go to politicians. In addition, it is the same as our federal government income tax; higher earners pay more than lower earners in order to help fund services that benefit us all.
I will be voting YES on Question 1 and encourage others to do the same.
The Left and Democrats have never seen a tax they don’t like.
“Higher earners”? Do you mean people like Bob Kraft or Elizabeth Warren, or an 80, year old woman who has lived in her home for 60 years, is living on Social Security and will have to pay higher taxes on the home she sells for $1.1 million? Your reasoning resembles those who want everyone who has worked for a living and contributed to society to support those who have never done either.
An clarification on the in terms of home sales being taxed you have to take into account that it is the capital gain (price sold – original purchase price) and then the state allows a $250,000 exemption on home sales ($500,000 for married filing jointly) on the sale of a primary residence. https://budget.digital.mass.gov/govbudget/fy20/tax-expenditure-budget/personal-income-tax/exclusions-from-gross-income/1-021
Steve, many god points and questions.
This one should be self evident “why aren’t the politicians who are pushing Question 1 working to change the current tax code to be more fair”
Answer, this is the begging of that process. I’m guessing you like things as they are. That’s ok but I don’t hear any reasonable argument as to why it should stay the same other than the government will have more money to work with. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your government. Do you hate your government? And if yes, why?
It’s an opening to a graduated income tax, and it appeals to the greed and selfishness of those who want to tax OTHERS but not themselves.
It’s actually a hate proposal. Why?
Because we are asked to hate and be jealous of people who earn a lot of money and to make them pay more in taxes. The wealthy are bad people and must be punished. That’s the unspoken rationale.
But where’s the justification? I have yet to hear even one.
And why $1 million? Why not $500,000? Why not $2 or $3 million?
No one knows. It just sounds good.
Steve, you presented some great ideas that I haven’t seen covered before. I applaud your thoughtful approach. We need to work towards eliminating our infamous title of Taxachusetts instead of adding more taxes. We need to hold our politicians responsible for constantly dividing us and looking for more money to supposedly solve all problems instead of looking for actual solutions and holding all state agencies accountable to wisely spending our hard-earned money. I will also be voting NO.
Everyone paying the same 5% rate means everyone pays their “fair share”. Someone making $100,000 pays $5,000 and someone making $1,000,000 pays $50,000. And the person paying $50,000 probably isn’t getting 10x the level of services from the state!
I am all for making sure that there are no loopholes for high earners to pay less than low earners. But adding an extra 4% to high earners will just drive them and their businesses out of state.
And the legislature won’t stop there. Once this constitutional amendment is approved expect graduated tax rates to hit a much lower income thresholds in the future.