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Advocates Push For Change To State Tax Structure

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420x316-grad-keller2 Jon Keller
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BOSTON (CBS) — Tuesday is another tax deadline in a state where residents pay the 11th highest share of their income in state and local taxes, according to the Tax Foundation.

But is the tax burden fair in the state?

House Taxation Committee Chairman Rep. Jay Kaufman says change is needed.

And Barbara Anderson of Citizens for Limited Taxation takes a dim view of the state’s tax structure, but for completely different reasons.

“The problem is that our total tax burden is still one of the highest in the country,” Anderson said.

Kaufman wants to amend the state constitution to impose a graduated income tax, where the more you earn the higher your tax rate, a more fair system, he claims that would only raise taxes on the top 20-percent earners.

“I think the public will understand, they may not like it but they will understand that there really is no other good fix for this tax system,” Kaufman said.

But Anderson sees this as a tactic to divide and conquer tax resistance as a precursor to raising middle class taxes.

“This way when they want to raise the income tax they have to raise it on everybody and we can at least have a revolution and a ballot question,” Anderson.

But Kaufman says you get the society that you pay for.

“Government doesn’t always do the best possible job but there are some things we can only do together,” Kaufman said.

Anderson questions what state residents are receiving.

“We cant seem to find lost children, we cant seem to maintain our infrastructure, we can’t seem to maintain a viable transportation system,” Anderson said. “What’s so great about Massachusetts that would make anybody want to give it more money?”

Some good news to ease the sting of tax deadline day though – your risk of being audited by the feds is less than it has been in many years. Budget cuts have left the IRS with its lowest number of auditing agents since the 1980’s. But that also means millions of taxpayer questions phoned into the agency are going unanswered.

 

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