This Tax Day, Liberal Massachusetts Politicians Should Voluntarily Pay Their Fair Share

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Liberal politicians enjoy talking endlessly about big government programs, but who will pay for those programs?

When given the opportunity to pay a slightly higher state income tax rate in Massachusetts, big government Democrats who, ideologically, aren’t much different from self-described democratic socialists like U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), decline that chance.

When they think no one is looking, high-income earners like U.S. Senator Ed Markey, U.S. Representative Jake Auchincloss, former congressman Joe Kennedy III, and even U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren have declined an opportunity to pay even a fraction of a percent extra in taxes.

They’re all liberals from Massachusetts, and they can voluntarily pay a 5.85 percent state income tax rate if they want.

In 2000, 59 percent of Bay State voters voted to lower the state income tax from 5.9 percent to 5 percent. State legislators changed the voter-approved law to something more gradual, and the state ended up lowering the rate to 5 percent over the span of 20 years.

In 2002, however, the now-defunct Citizens for Limited Taxation got Republican state legislators to introduce a budget amendment that created a voluntary rate so the people who opposed lowering taxes could continue to pay the higher rate.

It’s perfect for politicians like Markey, Warren, and Kennedy. who support Medicare-for-All and the Green New Deal, among other massive spending programs. Auchincloss supports a public option, but he’s also for the Green New Deal and the Build Back Better agenda, among other government expansion programs.

Of the 1,200 to 1,700 people in a state of about 7 million people who opt to pay the slightly higher tax rate, Warren is the only one of these liberal politicians that we know for sure does it. Warren didn’t pay the rate from 2008 to 2016, according to tax returns she released. However, she has paid the higher rate since 2017 — when she was gearing up for a re-election campaign in 2018 to be followed by a presidential campaign in 2020.

Markey, Kennedy, and Auchincloss could have done more to help fund fire departments, schools, and MassHealth. They’re all making more than the average Bay Stater. Given their support for higher taxes on the American people, they should start by voluntarily raising their own taxes.

After all, they all want to raise taxes on working people. That includes Auchincloss, who supports a carbon tax – a regressive tax that hits people who can’t afford it much harder than people who can.

If liberal politicians have not filed their income taxes yet, there is still time for them to do what is right and pay that extra 0.85 percent; after all, income tax returns are due on Tuesday, April 18 this year. If not, they should not advocate for raising taxes on working people. 


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