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Report: 9,300 Millionaires In Massachusetts

By Edward Mason, Special to the Boston Business Journal
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(credit: AP)

(credit: AP)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Nearly 10,000 households in Massachusetts had incomes greater than $1 million in 2009, according to a new Boston Business Journal report and they offer a rich target for Washington politicians looking for fresh sources of revenue.

The million-plus earners are spread out throughout the state, but a handful of communities have especially high concentrations.

Eleven towns’ percentages of million-dollar households are 3.5 percent or higher.

In Weston, more than 11 percent of the population lives in households that earn more than $1 million.

Massachusetts’ uber wealthy — the fourth most highly concentrated group in the country — are weary of being battered like political piñatas but resolved to being whacked in the wallets, their wealth managers said.

“They definitely feel under attack,” said Tom Cahill, a partner at Beaumont Financial Partners in Wellesley Hills.

“They hear ‘millionaire tax’ and they fear the worst,” he said.

“The mind-set is, ‘We’ll have to pay more. And we’re going to have to pay the price,’” Cahill added. “It’s just how it comes out.”

There were 9,374 tax filers in Massachusetts who earned $1 million or more for a total of $28.4 billion in 2009, according to the report prepared for the Boston Business Journal by the state Department of Revenue.

As politicians in Washington weigh plans to tap the wealthy, the report offers a revealing look at the breadth of the mega-rich’s resources and their concentration in a handful of toney enclaves.

• Eighty-two upscale households pulled down between $25 million to $100 million, while another well-heeled 9,015 reported making between $1 million and $10 million.

• Boston led all cities and towns with 1,048 million-plus earners, followed by Newton (746) and Wellesley (502).

• Weston had the most million-dollar households per capita (11.45 percent), then Dover (8.83 percent) and Wellesley (7.45 percent), according to a BBJ calculation. Andover, Sherborn and Cohasset had the next three highest percentages.

Lisa van der Pool of the Boston Business Journal reports

What’s more, Massachusetts has a remarkable concentration of wealthy, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, a Washington, D.C., group advocates taxing millionaires.

It projects 0.6 percent of Bay State taxpayers would pay a proposed 5.6 percent millionaires’ surcharge — giving Massachusetts the fourth-highest density of rich behind Connecticut, Washington, D.C., and New York.

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