It's Always Been a Revenue -- and a Fairness -- Problem

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Regressive Tax, Progressive Tax, Our Tax


What different kinds of taxes look like: 

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source: "Who Pays? A 50-State Report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy" (5th Ed.) 

 

What Massachusetts Taxes Look Like:

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Progressive Mass – 188th House Scorecard – 2013-2014

188th HOUSE SCORECARD (2013-2014) (for more scorecards, click here)
Scorecard_HOUSE_2013-2014.jpg

We research and compille compile this data for progressives to assess lesgislators' voting records. Read more about our scorecard process, its virtues and limitations, here. We welcome you to use and share this material, with attribution!

To view spreadsheet in a larger window click here

Download a printer-friendly version, here.

Don’t know who your State Rep is? Find out here: progma.us/whoismylegislator.

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Progressive Mass – 188th Senate Scorecard – 2013-2014

188th SENATE SCORECARD (2013-2014) (for more scorecards, click here)Scorecard_SENATE_2013-2014.jpg

We research and compile this material for progressives to assess legislators’ voting records. Read more about our scorecard process, its virtues and limitations, here. We welcome you to use and share this material, with attribution! 

TO VIEW SPREADSHEET IN A LARGER WINDOWclick here.

Download a printer-friendly version, here. 

Don’t know who your State Senator is? Find out here: progma.us/whoismylegislator.

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Fixing the MBTA Imperative for Our Economy: PM Member Robert Fitzpatrick in the Boston Globe

This essay originally appeared in Boston Globe West  - March 22, 2015. 

Does the state need to adopt additional tax increases to address the problems of the MBTA and its overall transportation needs? 

Robert Fitzpatrick

Yes

By Robert Fitzpatrick, Newton attorney, member of Progressive Massachusetts and secretary of the Newton Democratic City Committee.

None of this is new. In 2009, a similar commission appointed by Governor Patrick found that the MBTA’s “Forward Funding” scheme adopted in 2000 was based on unrealistic cost and revenue assumptions and concluded that the “Outlook Is Bleak.” Even with five fare hikes since 2001, the T runs at a structural operating deficit and has taken on significant additional debt.These are tough times for Boston commuters. Record snowfall totals this winter created massive traffic snarls and shone a harsh spotlight on the MBTA’s deficiencies. In February the T’s general manager resigned and Governor Baker appointed a commission to study the agency’s problems.

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Medicare for All? PM Director Ben Wright in the Boston Globe

This essay originally appeared in Boston Globe South  - March 21, 2015. 

Should Massachusetts adopt a single-payer healthcare system? 

Yes

By Ben Wright, director of Progressive Massachusetts. Ben has worked on electoral and issue campaigns on the South Shore, including, updating the bottle bill and raising the minimum wage.

Massachusetts should adopt a single payer health care system to improve individual health outcomes, expand care to everyone, and reduce costs for both individuals and the government.

In 2012, per capita health care spending was $8,233, more than 2.5 times higher than most developed nations. However, we have proportionately fewer physicians and hospital beds, and our life expectancy increases since 1960 are below those of other developed nations, according to a PBS news report.

We have a huge spending problem, and single payer is the simplest solution. With so many other priorities – including education, transportation and infrastructure -- we should be implementing solutions that will reduce costs to society and improve care.

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Fixing the T Requires Investment: PM Member Kevin Loechner in the Boston Globe

This essay originally appeared in Boston Globe South  - March 14, 2015. 

Should we increase taxes to fix the T?

YES

kloech.jpgBy Kevin Loechner of Hull, member of Progressive Massachusetts, Democratic activist and daily mass transit commuter.

If you have ridden public transit lately, you know how frustrating it has been. The experience on our roads hasn’t been much better. Traffic on Route 3A has increased due to major delays and breakdowns on the MBTA’s Greenbush Line and ice in Hingham Harbor. The unusually brutal winter has magnified the underlying structural problems within our transportation infrastructure.

A 2009 report identified more than $3 billion in deferred MBTA maintenance costs. These costs have probably gone up since then. The Federal Highway Administration in 2014 said more than 50 percent of the state’s bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

Clearly these issues need to be fixed, and due to the costs involved we will need to increase some taxes in order to pay for them. The recent winter breakdown of our transportation system is a stark reminder that we need a comprehensive funding plan. 

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Regressive Tax Structure Helps the Richest, Hurts Communities: PM Member Chris Matthews in the Boston Globe

This essay originally appeared in Boston Globe South  - March 7, 2015. 

Should the state adopt a graduated income tax?

YES

11008985_10204095494287850_478943708_n.jpgBy Chris Matthews of Scituate, member of Progressive Massachusetts and Treasurer of the Plymouth County Democratic League.

The MBTA is falling apart, property taxes are rising annually, and Governor Baker recently cut desperately needed substance abuse funding to balance the budget. The time has come for Massachusetts to join the majority of states in implementing a progressive income tax to increase revenue and reinvest in our communities.

Today every Massachusetts taxpayer, from CEOs earning millions to waitresses earning $3.00 per hour, pay the same income tax rate of 5.15%. But when we look at the total state and local tax burden, which pays for services, infrastructure and education, the richest 1% only pay between 4.8-6% of their income, while the poorest Massachusetts taxpayers pay 10.1%.

This means we’re overtaxing those least able to contribute while giving a discount to those most able - a regressive tax structure. Instead, we could increase tax rates based on income with a graduated income tax, like our federal tax system, increasing fairness.

Despite our needs and continuing budget woes, our income tax rate has actually decreased, from 5.95% in 2000 to 5.15% today. That’s meant less money for improving education and public transit and local aid, leading to cancelled trains, growing class sizes, and unsafe roads and bridges.

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Muddling Along, Makeshift Fixes and Misdirection: Analysis of Gov. Baker's FY2016 Budget Proposal

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Analysis by Robert Fitzpatrick, Progressive Newton

On March 4, Governor Charlie Baker released his proposed state budget for Fiscal Year 2016, which starts this July 1. The new Governor’s first budget proposal – and the reaction of some Democratic legislators to it – contains some positive developments but a lot more to be concerned about.

 

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Structural Deficits: The Price of Tax Cuts

The Boston Globe recently reported there's an expected $1.5 billion shortfall in fiscal year 2016.

This is an alarming figure, and as both the Republican Governor and the Democratic Speaker of the House have ruled out any tax increases, we can expect yet another round of cuts to our already slashed budgets and agencies.

Already we hear many voices rail against "living beyond our means" and the need to tighten belts further. But this narrative always leaves out an important piece of the story of our structural deficit -- we've lost $3.3 billion in FY2015 ALONE because of tax cuts enacted 1998-2002:

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via Mass. Budget and Policy Center

Given the massive reduction in our revenues, it should not be a surprise that we are repeatedly facing budget shortfalls. But now that we've lived through this cycle -- and are seeing the disastrous results of underinvestment and austerity -- we need to reject the simplistic and false narrative of "overspending" and talk about how we've been underfunding.

Why is it always more cuts -- to programs and investments that have already been cut -- but never restoring lost revenue? Especially when our tax system is so unfair

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