In tonight’s State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Patrick is making a very bold proposal:
- cut the sales tax from 6.25% back not just to 5%, as I advocated two months ago, but to 4.5%, and “dedicate all the proceeds to a public works fund … sales tax proceeds would be off limits for any other purpose.”
- increase the income tax from 5.3% to 6.25% – and, “to make that increase fair to all according to their ability to pay,”
- double the personal exemptions, and eliminate some itemized deductions.
As Patrick says in his address, “there is no good time to raise taxes.” But Patrick is right: we are in desperate need of transportation improvements, and persistent disparities in education are simply not acceptable.
Especially given the artificial constraints that wrong-headed court decisions have placed us under in Massachusetts, this is a pretty good stab at a truly progressive tax reform. So, well done, Governor. We look forward to the details, and to a thoughtful and respectful debate.