Dear Assemblyman Pignatelli and Senator Downing: I am writing to express my forceful opposition to Governor Deval Patrick’s plan to raise the Massachusetts state income tax. I am 57 years and my wife and I are actively planning for our retirement. Though we prefer to stay at home in Berkshire County, a rise in the state income tax will likely have us packing up and moving to Florida. Our retirement savings is largely in our IRA’s, for which we will have to pay income tax on every dollar withdrawn.
Massachusetts, having among the highest state income tax rates in the nation, causes us to worry about our IRA’s ability to fund us for the rest of our lives. Governor Patrick’s plan only makes a bad situation worse.
Governor Patrick’s argument that a proportional income tax is fairer than a regressive tax like the sales tax is only part of the story. The fairest taxes are progressive income taxes, where the rich pay a higher percentage of their income than those less fortunate.
Seven states currently have no state income tax. Two states only tax dividend and interest income. Thirty four states plus the District of Columbia already have progressive income taxes, with anywhere from two to 12 brackets with increasing rates based on increasing income levels.
Only seven states maintain proportional income taxes wherein every citizen pays the same rate regardless of income. Of those seven states with proportional income taxes, Massachusetts has the highest rate at 5.25 percent (Source: Federal Tax Administrators; www.taxadmin.org/ fta/rate/ind_inc.pdf
I urge you to vote against this increase in the proportional state income tax rate. Of course, my preference is to leave rates as they are, so you and your colleagues can run for reelection on the basis that you did not raise our taxes. If new funds must be found to maintain state services at a reasonable level, then devise a fairer progressive income tax system wherein those who make more, pay more. My vote in the coming elections cycles is at stake on this issue, which is of such critical importance to me.