Third Party & Independents Archives


I have been hearing the term “Taxachusetts” being thrown around with increasing frequency during this campaign. Clearly it is intended to convince the audience that Kerry is a tax-and-spend Democrat and he is personally responsible for the unconscionably high taxes in his home state. There are two false premises in this pejorative: that Massachusetts has a very high tax burden; and that John Kerry (or more traditionally Ted Kennedy) is responsible for this burden.

According to Tax Policy Center, the Tax Foundation, and all other sources I referenced, Massachusetts has a combined state and local rate of 5.6%, ranking it the 34th highest out of the 50 states. For comparison: Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Idaho, and New Mexico are among those with higher rates. The first premise of "Taxachusetts" is false. It was true once, but hasn't been for over a decade.

I am fairly familiar with what was called in my day "Civics". And I find that the state of Massachusetts is like most, in that the Representatives and Senators of the United States Congress have no direct impact on the state legislation. Certainly they are powerful players in the world of politics, but they can not force through a tax bill against the will of a majority of the state legislature. Obviously, even if Massachusetts were "Taxachusetts" it would not be the doing of Kerry or Kennedy. The second assumption would be false even if the first premise were true.

Note that I have no personal stake in the Massachusetts, having only been to Boston twice and having a generally negative opinion of it.

Posted by rev_matt_y at September 20, 2004 12:33 PM