Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kooks at it again

Election season, and I've just read through this year's ballot initiatives. And once again, there's a group of people who are trying to get the income tax repealed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Massachusetts Question 1, the State Income Tax Repeal Initiative.

Hey, who doesn't want to pay less taxes?

But, seriously, there are lots of things that I do think are important -- schools, public safety, environmental oversight, to name just a few -- that have to be paid for, and I look at it as part of the price I pay to live in a place that has given me the opportunity to have a good job that pays the bills, live in a nice house, maintains roads that allow me to get from one to another, keeps the streets safe at night, will come to my aid if there's a fire or other disaster, and so on, and so forth.

Frankly, I think the Commonwealth would benefit from a graded income tax to lower the tax burden on those with the lowest incomes in the state, especially given the increase in prices for the basic necessities, but I appreciate the value of having a slightly simpler tax code. (the in-state/out-of-state interest income has always been a little annoying, actually.)

Anyway, being curious, I read through the supposed benefits to approving the question that were provided as "arguments in favor" by the "committee for small government." I've listed them with heckling my comments added below:

  • Your “Yes” vote gives back $3,700 each to 3,400,000 Massachusetts workers and taxpayers – including you – on average when we end the state income tax. $3,700. Each worker. Every year.

    Well, duh. Cutting the income tax means you don't pay an income tax. Have I mentioned "duh?" (yes, I know they're just quantifying it for people.)

  • Your “Yes” vote will create hundreds of thousands of new Massachusetts jobs.

    Um, exsqueeze me? I went to the sponsoring organization's website (which I won't support by providing a link), and apparently they think that all this extra money "in productive, private hands" will result in new jobs!

    Strangely, in the video of the 10 people they interviewed about what they'd do with the extra money, none of them mentioned starting a business or creating jobs. A few were savers (One guy was pretty specific about investing some semi-risky funds, maybe THAT was the job guy!), the rest, spender -- travel, buy a car, put towards a mortgage, pay off credit cards.

    Frankly, I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you. (although, credit to the gentleman who was going spend it all at local businesses -- way to do your part, dude.)

  • Your “Yes” vote will NOT raise your property taxes NOR any other taxes

    Also, everybody gets a pony.

    Just for the record, the committee for small government is based out of Wayland, which happens to have a median income almost $60k higher at $177,900 per household in 2006 than then median income for the Commonwealth, with almost double the median home value at $700k. So yeah, their taxes may not go up much.

    Should also mention that while Massachusetts does have the 5th highest median state property tax in the country, it's still behind nearby number 2, New Hampshire (which has no state income or sales tax), even though NH has the 5th lowest median property value in the country, well below number 25, Massachusetts.

    Just sayin'.

  • Your “Yes” vote will NOT cut, NOR require cuts, of any essential government services.

  • Your “Yes” vote rolls back state government spending 27% - $47.3 billion to $34.7 billion – more than state government spending in 1999.

    These last two are kind of related. First, it really depends on what you define as "essential." These guys are libertarians, after all. Also, any one got a read on what inflation has been like over the last 9 years?

    This site, which calculates inflation using the consumer price index, says 31.5% aggregated. So that's really like $26.4 billion in 1999 dollars... yeah, that's totally gonna fly.

I guess we'll see how well that Massachusetts educational system is working in November. To be honest, I'm not hopeful, even though I think a similar measure has failed in the past.

In other news, perhaps not unrelated, Question 2 is an effort to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.


Anonymous said...

SO we don't want to be government slaves that makes us kooks?

Get a life you moron.

UraKook said...

yes you are a kook, because you don't realize that the citizenry IS the government. Government is only a term we give the things we decide to do as a community.

This proposal is irresponsible, and will do more harm then good. Getting rid of the tax, and saying everything will be ok is kookiness at the highest level. Not accompanying a budget proposal to show where cuts makes sense, because you can't, is kookiness.

Go be a kook somewhere else. Our state government is far from perfect, but our state is successful and our quality of life is high in comparison to many other states. I'd like to keep it that way instead of sacrificing it to some moral libertarian vendetta.