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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Date: October 26th., 2005
Sent to but not published in the Boston Globe

So Tom Birmingham wants to reduce Massachusetts Income Tax rates to 5%. He is living in a fool's paradise if he thinks that the current economic good times can last. With appallingly high deficits (both internal and international, the U.S. is going to face a recession fairly soon. That money in the rainy day fund will be needed to maintain public services.

I have an alternative suggestion, let us simplify the Massachusetts tax code. That would add three or four days of productive work to every Massachusetts tax payer and much more to companies that prepare tax slips for their employees.

What I have in mind is relating the Massachusetts Tax rate to the Federal Taxes paid. This would render the Massachusetts tax system more progressive rather than the current flat tax rate and align Massachusetts policies with those of the Federal Government -- it is not helpful when they tug in different directions (as with taxes on Capital Gains and Dividend Income).
I see the Massachusetts Tax Form as containing four lines:
  • 1. Taxable Income (from US 1040)_________________________
  • 2. Tax paid to Federal Government (from US 1040)___________
  • 3. Multiply line 2 by 0.25 (or whatever % is required to be revenue neutral)____________
  • 4. Amount sent to Massachusetts Department of Revenue _______ OR Amount to be Refunded _________

A copy of the Federal Return would be filed is support of this four line Massachusetts form.
This would make the lives of Massachusetts taxpayers much simpler. Think of all the laws that could be wiped from the books! The only decision to be taken each year is what the rate should be.

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