Carla Howell, erstwhile gubernatorial candidate and proud Libertarian, is leading the charge to abolish Massachusetts’ income tax.

She was recently interviewed for an article in Banker & Tradesman.

Q: Gov. Deval Patrick has said your idea to abolish the state income tax is “stupid,” and he told Banker & Tradesman, “I get the point that it’s not the government’s money, that it’s your money. But that’s not the whole story because it’s also your broken roads, your overcrowded schools, your broken neighborhood and your broken neighbors. And it’s time we all started taking responsibility for that.” How do you respond to that?

A: The neighborhoods are broken because of big government and big government welfare programs. Go to places like Roxbury, Revere and Brockton and meet people there and ask about what their family members do. They will come up with so many welfare programs that it will make your head spin. They are all on these different welfare programs that no one has ever heard of, there are scores of them. Go to the Blue Pages of the phone book and see the lists of government agencies. There are so many of them. No one is paying attention to what they do expect for the people who work in them and the people who get checks from them who have an incentive to keep the money flowing. Are we reducing poverty? No. We are sustaining poverty. These devastated neighborhoods have been ruined by government programs where you have generations of families who never learned to read and are dependent on government.

Approximately 55% of Mass state tax revenues come in as a result of residential (and corporate) income taxes, and about 33% of total moneys collected (includes federal reimbursements, etc.).

The goal of Ms Howell and her group isn’t to replace the income tax with other sources of revenue, it’s to drastically reduce state spending, overall.

While the goal seems laudatory, the method seems a bit harsh, and the results potentially disastrous, although I would be willing to give it a whirl.

Still, if you think passing the referendum would lead to any change at the state level, you may be hopelessly naive. Remember the tax rate rollback we all voted into “law” a couple years ago, the one that requires the state to reduce the individual tax rate from 5.3% to 5%?

Yeah, I’m still waiting for that 0.3%.

Source: Nonprofit Co-founder Takes Aim at Massachusetts’ Income Tax – By Thomas Grillo, Banker & Tradesman (subscription required)

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