As a share of personal income, however, the state and local tax burden in Massachusetts, where incomes are high, is relatively low, and has been falling in relation other states. Massachusetts was 47th in 2002, down from 43rd in 2000, 37th in 1992, and 17th in 1981. (MTF estimates that tax increases passed in 2002 in response to the states fiscal crisis would have moved us up to 46th.) In 2002, Bay State taxpayers paid 13.2 percent of personal income in taxes and fees to state and local governments, down from 15.3 percent in 1992. Total tax burden per $1,000 of personal income dropped from 6.6 percent below the national average in 1992 to 13.4 percent below in 2002.
The article continues to discuss the burden on property taxes and the rate of spending on the municipal level that has not kept pace with increased costs, thus reducing services at home where they are needed most. Deval Patrick offers a specific direction to address tax burdens.
Cut the Property Tax by Reinvesting in Cities and Towns. Today there is too much reliance on local property taxes as a source of revenue for essential services. As Governor, restoring local aid to pre-2000 levels will be one of my highest budget priorities. Once restored, we should commit a fixed percentage of annual state tax receipts to direct support of local services by cities and towns. Furthermore, the state must uncap lottery disbursements to cities and towns.