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Category: Press Releases

League of Women Voters Supports Carbon Tax Proposal

 4/15/2013 BOSTON—The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has submitted testimony in support of a bill proposing to create a carbon tax in the state to the Joint Committee on Revenue.

The League supports H.2532, “An Act Relative to shifting from carbon emissions to transportation investment,” sponsored by Rep. Thomas Conroy and Sen. Michael Barrett.

Launa Zimmaro, energy and resource conservation specialist for the Massachusetts League, noted in the written testimony that this is the first carbon tax proposed at the state level.

“As such, it promises to serve not only to reduce carbon emissions in Massachusetts, but as a model and catalyst for state, national and international action,” she wrote. “This groundbreaking legislation is significant not only for its environmental and symbolic value, but also for revenue generation for the Commonwealth – revenue that is needed to support the transition from a carbon-based energy system to a future of clean, renewable energy.”

“The relatively low cost of carbon based fuels encourages their use and stymies conservation and investment in clean, renewable energy development. H.2532 focuses on the demand side of the carbon equation by pricing carbon to reflect its true social cost, a cost that has been borne by, but hidden from, the public,” the League testimony stated.

Enacting a carbon tax would provide incentives to reduce use of carbon-based fuels, generate revenues for public transportation and clean-energy initiatives, and begin to address climate change issues, according to the testimony.

The bill contains provisions to offset the impact of the carbon tax on lower-income households.

For LWVMA testimony on this bill, click here.

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.