Thursday, February 15, 2007

"Tax Freedom" = Freedom to Tax

One must suspect that Boston Globe headline writers have a peculiar outlook when a proposal to facilitate new taxes is headlined as “Tax Freedom”. It make you wonder how a Globe headline would have described the Boston Tea Party.

The Globe story begins:

Governor Deval Patrick's administration is preparing a push to give Massachusetts cities and towns more freedom to raise taxes and fees…

OK. But the root cause of the problem is identified towards the end of the article:

Every other city looked at in the [nationwide] study also collected at least a portion of the sales tax generated in the city. But sales taxes from Boston and other Massachusetts cities go into a statewide pot, and the funds are distributed through local aid that varies from year to year – removing some local incentives to increase economic activity, according to the study.

In Massachusetts legislators have considerable latitude to redistribute local tax revenue. Local taxes (except for property taxes) are assessed by cities and towns but paid through the state. These funds are then redistributed by the state legislature as they see fit. The legislature calls their redistribution “local aid”. In such a context that term is Orwellian.

I’m not trying to knock Patrick’s proposal. This Globe story doesn’t carry enough specifics to make a case either way.

But one can’t allow the one-party regime controlling the legislature to act as redistributors of local taxes without creating a culture of patronage, as we have done in spades. On the other had, if this redistribution is restricted and communities are allowed to keep more of their “own” local taxes, the resulting benefits will likely accrue to wealthier communities, and I doubt that Patrick will stand for that.

2 comments:

Chris said...

Up in New Hampshire, the property tax is our primary means of revenue-generation. The good thing is that it allows us to keep our tax dollars in our own town. The bad thing is that it allows us to keep our tax dollars in our own town.

I think the good outweighs the bad, because when you play 'Robin Hood' (like Deval and his bleeding Liberal /socialistic henchmen do), you create 'sloths' who just sit and wait for the re-distribution to 'come their way.' Why break a sweat in Holyoke or Springfield or Lawrence when Weston, Lincoln, and Carlisle will bail the welfare crowds out?

As a New Hampshire resident, I watch all this with amusement. As electroral votes and congressional seats slip-slide away and as illegals flood every nook and cranny in Massachusetts it will be fun to watch the hand-wringing that goes on down there. And how the Libs down there will try to point the finger at anyone but themselves.

Ramon Amore d'Hombre said...

Chris,

I congratulate you on a sophisticated and original critique of the liberal tax philosophy. Clearly you have put the myth of Keynes as a great economist to rest for the 21st century.

I thought you could do no better until I saw your second paragraph. I thought nativism had been long dead as a school of thought but you eloquently and astutely bring it back to legitimacy. Le Pen himself could have done no better.