League of Women Voters Supports Graduated Income Tax

4/10/2013 BOSTON—The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts sent testimony to the Joint Committee on Revenue in support of a proposed Constitutional amendment allowing for a graduated income tax in the state.

A hearing on the amendment legislation, S.17, was held by the Joint Committee on Revenue. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg, with co-sponsors Rep. Peter V. Kocot and Rep. Jason M. Lewis.

The bill would amend the state Constitution to change the state income tax from a single flat rate to graduated rates, “so that higher rates are imposed on taxpayers in higher income brackets and lower rates on those in lower income brackets,” according to the text of the bill.

June Michaels, the state League’s specialist on fiscal policy, argued that a fixed rate income tax is regressive, with a higher burden on those least able to afford it.

“A graduated income tax would raise sufficient revenue, provide tax relief for lower and middle income families and allow for greater flexibility in our overall tax structure,” Michaels said.

As Massachusetts’ economy improves, the time is right to address the fairness of the income tax, a major source of the state’s budget, she said.

Under the proposed amendment, the legislature would be responsible for creating tax brackets and setting the tax rate scale.