Category: Phineas Baxandall

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Memo to Governor Healey on Ways to Ensure Effective Implementation of the Fair Share Amendment

As Massachusetts voters have amended the state constitution to include a 4 percent surtax on taxable income over $1 million, MassBudget would like to offer policy suggestions to assist the Commonwealth in protecting this revenue and ensuring that it is directed to education and transportation, as specified in the amendment.

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Letter to Governor-elect Healey and Lieutenant Governor-elect Driscoll on a Family Tax Credit

A letter to Governor-elect Healey and Lieutenant Governor-elect Driscoll on a consolidating different family tax supports into one simpler, fully refundable Family Tax Credit.

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The Fair Share Millionaire Tax and Home Sales: What 2021 Data Shows

Based on industry data from the Warren Group on home sales in Massachusetts, previous analysis has shown how rare it is that a sale might generate taxable capital gains of $1 million or more. But what does the data say about home sales that might have created taxable income over $1 million in 2021?

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The Myth of the One-Year Middle Class Millionaire

“One-time” occurrences of $1 million income are relatively rare overall, and in fact much rarer for the middle-class. It is far more common for tax filers who exceed $1 million in annual income to do so year over year. An examination of available data suggests that when a middle-class taxpayer sells their small business or home, they would be highly unlikely to have a taxable income over $1 million, the point at which additional income would be subject to the new proposed tax under ballot Question 1 (Fair Share).

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Even Among Retirees with High Wealth, Few Will Pay the Fair Share Tax

The proposed “millionaire tax” only applies to the portion of a taxpayer’s annual taxable income over $1 million. For many retirees, much of their income is not subject to the income tax and therefore not subject to an additional tax on income over $1 million. And wealth, such as personal savings and investments, are not subject to the income tax. Even when wealth is sold to generate additional financial gains, this income is often tax-exempt or shielded by widely used deductions.

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A Bridge Too Far: Sagging Investment Leaves 644 Massachusetts Bridges Structurally Deficient

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation maintains a database tracking 7,880 bridges across the Commonwealth. This paper examines the condition of these bridges and the impact of bridge disrepair on communities. It analyzes how some regions and populations are harmed more than others, and how these problems could be helped by investing more public resources in transportation.

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Four Reasons We Need Strong Estate Taxes

Explainer via Napkin Finance With Legislators debating potential changes to taxes on large estates, it’s important to remember why we have taxes on the transfer of …

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Current Estate Tax Proposals Would Give Largest Benefits to Wealthiest Estates; Alternative Method Would Fix This Problem

The tax on inherited estates is Massachusetts’ only tax that directly reduces wealth inequality. Although the pandemic has highlighted disparities between rich and poor families, the Governor and some in the Legislature have proposed changes to the estate tax that would largely benefit the state’s wealthiest households.

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When A Surplus Is Not Extra

Sometimes a “surplus” is not really a surplus at all, and the term “tax surplus” can be particularly misleading. A tax surplus occurs when tax collections come in higher than the amount expected when the state created its budget at the beginning of the fiscal year. When that initial estimate turns out to be too low, there is a “surplus.” It does not mean that the state budget has already met the needs of the moment or that there is extra unneeded revenue.

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Options to Adjust the Estate Tax While Retaining Revenue and Progressivity

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center was asked to outline options for changes to the estate tax that would preserve revenue, maintain progressivity, and also cut taxes on or exempt estates with a taxable value up to around $1.2 million. Since households subject to the estate tax are among the state’s wealthiest taxpayers, any reductions to revenue from the estate tax represent a transfer of wealth from the Commonwealth to its wealthiest families. Even so, some options are better than others.

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