Raise taxes or ‘your neighbor gets laid off’
Wednesday, January 15th, 2003
Massachuessetts, like a lot of states, is running a nasty budget deficit as tax revenues decline from the roaring nineties. The projected shortfall for next year is $3 billion. In November, voters nearly passed a resolution killing the state’s 5.8% income tax, so raising taxes doesn’t appear to be an option.
Unfortunately, state and local officials don’t make a very compelling case for their services as they argue against budget cuts. They talk vaguely about “horrible scenarios,” but we get very little concrete argument. An article in yesterday’s local paper, the Hampshire Gazette, offers a case in point.
“Area officials said they believe the general public does not realize the full implications of the cuts to come, and that some people would not be so opposed to a tax increase if they did. ‘It’s hard for me to understand why we can’t make an argument to support a moderate increase in the income tax, because the alternative is your neighbor gets laid off,’ said Robin Crosbie, administrator for Hadley.” Ahh, so that’s why we pay taxes.