Following news reports indicating that both sides in the fight over the proposed 80% income surtax hike ballot question have now taken to the airwaves, the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance issued the following statement weighing in.
“For over six years, the proponents and special interest groups pushing this deceitful 80% income surtax hike have gone nearly unchallenged on the airwaves. It’s a welcome sight to see the opposition has organized and is prepared to come out and spread the truth about the many negative consequences of this proposed 80% tax hike to the people of Massachusetts,” said Paul D. Craney, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.
“The special interest groups pushing this amendment have been incredibly deceptive throughout their effort to get this economy killer passed. They continually make it seem like this is a tax hike that will only affect people with paychecks over a million dollars, but we’ve said again and again there are simply too few people in that category to get close to the revenue numbers they’re projecting. In reality, most of the people who will pay this tax will pay it only once—when they go to retire and sell their home or business to free up their assets. It’s a tax on families who have built a small business and wish to sell it to fund a retirement nest egg. It’s a tax on people whose home has appreciated in value and are looking to sell it. It’s a tax on family-owned farms who wish to pass it on to the next generation,” noted Craney.
“Proponents are further being deceptive when they claim that the money is guaranteed to increase funding for transportation and education—it’s simply not true. The legislature is the ultimate authority when it comes to appropriations and can spend these funds however they see fit,” noted Craney.
According to a study published by the Beacon Hill Institute and the Fiscal Alliance Foundation, the last time a ballot question was used to increase a tax and appropriate funding for an earmarked purpose was an increase of the tobacco tax in 1992. While this ballot question directed these funds to be earmarked for smoking cessation programs, the study found that only 25% of that revenue was actually being used for that purpose.
“The truth is Beacon Hill has more money than they can spend right now as it is. We don’t need to hobble our state economy and penalize retirees to increase revenue. There is simply no need to pass this punitive and deceptive tax hike,” concluded Craney.