, Salem, MA


March 8, 2014

Letter: Graduated tax can be effective

To the editor:

After reading the first three paragraphs of the editorial condemning the mere mention of a progressive, graduated income tax in the commonwealth (“Hideous ‘grad tax’ buzz in heard again in the land,” March 4), I was certain that I was not about to read a balanced discussion of the issue. What I read was a litany of tax complaints and the various dates throughout history where the graduated tax was defeated electorally. The last one being 20 years ago. In those last 20 years, we have seen federal support for the states shrink under the banner of austerity, or whatever name its being called today. We have seen the cumulative impact of the cities and towns struggling to finance themselves after having their income source ripped away from them by Prop 21/2.

The effects of cutting income sources essentially neutral for the state and its communities is in our headlines every day. For example the underfunding of the DCF is mentioned only as an afterthought after the press tears those DCF workers to shreds. They are overbooked and undertrained. Why? Do you really think Deval Patrick or even Mitt Romney wanted to decimate those departments? A little bit of money only buys a little. How about the lack of oversight at the crime lab or the compounding pharmacies? The statement that the commonwealth has a spending problem rings false, especially when you look at the spiraling problems the state has and the link between those problems as they increase and the resources available decrease.

In fact, the editorial makes the spending problem into a statement of fact, which is unjustified as the implication that all taxes are an unjust incursion into our personal wealth. As if being a liberal makes one want to pay more taxes, as if the state would be conducting some sort of left-wing experiment by going to a tax method used by nearly 80 percent of the states that have an income tax.

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