As part of its constitution, Massachusetts has a flat-rate income tax. As of 2020, that rate has been 5.0 percent and was actually higher in some previous years. Various interest groups have tried over the years to change the constitution to allow state governments to impose higher income tax rates on higher income earners. Other people succeeded in fighting those attempts successfully and heroically.

This month, once again, Massachusetts had a measure on the ballot to change the constitution and impose higher tax rates on people with higher incomes. Specifically, the measure calls for a 4-percentage point surtax on the portion of a person’s income over $1 million. I had hoped to report that this measure failed.

Alas, I cannot. With 99 percent of the votes counted, 52.0 percent voted yes, with 48.0 percent voting no. This means that it is mathematically impossible to cancel the measurement. If every remaining vote was a no, that would mean 51.5 percent yes votes and 48.5 percent no votes.

These are the opening paragraphs of my “Bad News from Texas,” IPI. TaxbytesNovember 16, 2022.

And the last paragraph:

The requirement to pay the same tax rate on everyone’s income prevented politicians from raising tax rates significantly because they knew it would hurt everyone. In fact, at times that limitation has led politicians to lower Massachusetts’ income tax rates. In 1992, for example, the tax rate was 5.95 percent. It has come down to 5.0 percent step by step. Sadly, the limitation that led to that happy outcome is now gone.

Read the whole thing, which is pretty short.

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