Judgment day in Massachusetts: Ending the income tax

Published 16 years ago -  - 16y ago 46

judgment-day-in-massachusetts-ending-the-income-taxEvents beckon, Massachusetts. Once again in history, opportunity reaches out to you.

This fall you will be asked, “Do you want to end the state personal income tax?” For your life’s sake tell them, “Yes!”

In the formative days of our country, the people of Massachusetts stood up for themselves, and the rest of the colonies stood by them. Patriots like John Adams, John Hancock, Joseph Warren, and Paul Revere were men of distinction with much to lose by defying the king. Yet they had the courage to stake a claim on their property and fight for it.

Supporters of the income tax tell us it’s the price we pay for civilization. Nothing could be further from the truth. When we condone theft as a civilized act, no matter who the perpetrator is, we open the door to force in our lives. A government that coerces its citizens promotes conflict and decline, not peace and prosperity.

Advocates of Big Government often ask, “But who will take care of the needy?” And the world witnessed the answer in the aftermath of 9-11, when donations for the families of victims inundated the charities. But the difference between giving and being taxed is hardly subtle; it’s the difference between an act of love and rape.

It’s time for you to tell the big spenders in your state you’re mad as hell and you’re not going to take it any more.

What Voting “Yes” Means

In September, the Massachusetts Elections Division will mail 4,000,000 guides to registered voters in your commonwealth. Massachusetts law allows up to 150 words pro and con for each question on the ballot. Carla Howell, the 2002 Libertarian Party candidate for governor of Massachusetts, wrote the argument in favor of “Yes” to question #1:

Your “yes” vote to end the state income tax means that 3,000,000 working people in Massachusetts will each get back $3,000 every year. $3,000 every year to spend or save, give to churches, charities, or favorite causes. For our families, businesses, neighborhoods, and communities.

Your “yes” vote to end the state income tax will create 300,000 to 500,000 new jobs in Massachusetts. Jobs for our out-of-work relatives, friends, and neighbors. Jobs for our graduates.

Massachusetts state government spending has more than doubled in 10 years. $10 billion under Michael Dukakis in 1991 to $23 billion today.

Are public schools delivering double the education? Are our streets twice as well maintained? Is Logan Airport twice as safe as it was 10 years ago?

Your “yes” vote to end the state income tax is a vote to downsize our high tax, wasteful, bloated, ever-growing, greedy government. [Vote “yes”] for small government. [1]

Government Control and Our Dollar

Once upon a time we had no income tax, either federal or state. But in 1913 for federal government, 1916 for Massachusetts, income tax amendments were enacted. Also in 1913, politicians passed the Federal Reserve Act, which created a national bank known as the Fed.

Together, these laws perform a sleight of hand. Through the income tax the government takes your money, but the Fed dumps more currency into circulation to try to ease the impact and preclude protests.

Let’s see what this trick has done to our dollar.

If we go to a web site called “How Much Is That Worth Today?” we can get a clue to its effect. [2] The site is maintained by John J. McCusker, Ewing Halsell Distinguished Professor of American History and Professor of Economics, Trinity University. McCusker lets you compare the purchasing power of the dollar during different periods of our history, based on Consumer Price Index data or estimates.

For instance, in 1901 it only took a nickel to buy what today would cost you a dollar. But it took $1.50 in 1801 to buy what cost a dollar in 1901. With the dollar under political control, then, its value has all but vanished. With the dollar under market control, its value shot up 50%.

Big Government is poison to civilization. As history testifies, it promotes its decline.

Why Tax Profiteers Love the Income Tax

An association of tax profiteers that call themselves the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation (MTF) says that “not a single member of the legislature, House or Senate, Democrat or Republican, voted to support [the initiative to end the income tax]. . . . [Not] a single Republican or Democratic candidate for Governor supports it.” [2]

I suggest you burn their words in big letters on a T-shirt and wear it as often as you can until November 5th. But add this message below their statement, which they apparently forgot:

The politicians who turn your paycheck into pork recommend you keep the income tax.

The MTF and their political pals will assure you they favor responsible government, especially in these times of economic uncertainty. In their more candid moments, they admit their campaigns do insult our intelligence. But intelligence is the last thing they want listening when they’re making their con.

Tennessee’s Valiant Fight

Can Massachusetts live without an income tax? You did for 129 years — the period during which the dollar increased in worth. Nine other states have no income tax, though two of them, Tennessee and New Hampshire, tax interest and dividends only. [3] Kentucky’s government is similar in structure to Tennessee’s, but Kentucky has an income tax. Yet from 1980 to 1998 the per capita economic growth rate of Tennessee exceeded Kentucky’s, 47% to 36%. [4]

Earlier this summer, Tennessee’s lawmakers faced an $800 million budget deficit, but refused to slash spending. So both Republicans and Democrats tried to pass a personal income tax. The people rallied, as they did last year in their first Tea Party protest. For days they assailed the capitol building in Nashville “with a wall of noise” until the legislature gave in. The bureaucrats had to shut down the state for three days, furloughing 22,000 state workers. [5]

How well do these lawmakers represent their constituents? “Seventy percent of Tennessee voters said the problem was overspending by government, not a revenue shortage, according to a Mason-Dixon poll.” [6] The legislators missed that poll, apparently.

Your Right to “Alter the Government”

Massachusetts, you can do it. You can bond with Tennessee and kill this punitive law. Read your state constitution — it says when government ceases “to furnish [the citizens of Massachusetts] with the power of enjoying in safety and tranquility their natural rights, and the blessings of life,” then “the people have a right to alter the government, and to take measures necessary for their safety, prosperity and happiness.” [7]

Your natural rights have been violated. Only you get them back. Tell government to get their hands out of your pockets. Tell them their income tax is keeping you from enjoying the full blessings of life. Your compatriots in Tennessee and all across the land are rooting for you. On November 5th vote “Yes” to end the income tax.


1. Small Government News, Official Newsletter of Carla Howell for Governor, Michael Cloud for U.S. Senate, and the Ballot Initiative to End the Income Tax, August 5, 2002.

2. How much is that worth today?

3. Small Government News

4. Wipe Out the Income Tax? Jeff Jacoby

5. The Case Against a Tennessee Income Tax, Stephen Moore and Richard Vedder

6. Play of the Week: A familiar political cry, Bill Schneider

7. Ibid.

8. Preamble, Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”

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