There is no such thing as a free lunch.

How to Get a 5% Raise in Massachusetts

Massachusetts currently imposes an income tax on its workers as well as capital gains taxes. The income tax rate is a flat 5.3% which is also the long-term capital gains rate. The short term capital gains tax rate is a whopping 12%. Of course, these are in addition to any federal taxes you will pay.

Today, there is an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal that describes an upcoming November ballot initiative to eliminate the income tax and capital gains taxes in Massachusetts altogether. The motive is to force legislators on Beacon Hill to reduce spending and exercise fiscal restraint. If this sounds like it might be a long shot to happen in “Taxachusetts”, the article reminds you that the same question appeared on the ballot in 2002 and garnered 45% of the vote.

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If this measure actually passes, then it has to force the state government to reduce spending. I imagine it will also cause local governments to raise property taxes to compensate for the loss in state money. Although I’m certainly all for a reduction in taxes and more fiscal restraint in government, I’m not sure I can completely support this movement in theory because it doesn’t seem all that unusual across the United States to have a small state income tax. But maybe the idea is to fight for an outright elimination and end up with a compromise.


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