Monday, April 24, 2006

It's the Wrong Tax

Edward Moscovitch, president of Cape Ann Economics, has an editorial in today's Boston Herald. Moscovitch echos calls for property tax relief instead of income tax cuts.

Gubernatorial candidates Kerry Healey and Tom Reilly used last week's tax deadline to renew their calls for cutting the state income tax from 5.3 percent to 5 percent - at an eventual cost of about $750 million a year. Given the uncertainties associated with the new health care bill and the cuts made in recent years to state colleges, social services and environmental programs, it's not at all clear the state could afford such a cut.

But even if there is extra money, it would be far better to cut local property taxes by raising state aid. Property taxes, after all, are not based on ability to pay, while the income tax is the fairest tax we have.

Local governments across the state are in crisis. With skyrocketing health-care premiums, local aid well below what it was four years ago and Proposition 2 overrides hard to pass, cities and towns are closing firehouses, cutting back library hours, bringing on fewer police cadets and raising class sizes.
At the end of the piece, Moscovitch asks if it's "naive to hope for a governor who levels with us about the choices we face and the true costs of cutting the state income tax?" I know at least one candidate who agrees with him.