As the Commonwealth seeks to improve our aging transportation system, policy makers have considered raising the gas tax. This paper assesses the gas tax along several well-established criteria for evaluating taxes: efficiency, fairness, and reliability. Based on these criteria, the gas tax receives mixed grades. Offsetting the tax with low-income tax credits could help.
Even considering how higher-income households have more money to give away, the tax benefits of charitable tax deductions are heavily skewed toward the top.
How to collect enough revenue to pay for the things we accomplish together as a Commonwealth and how to collect that revenue fairly are questions that every community and every state need to examine. This paper describes 14 ways the Commonwealth could generate substantial new revenue in a manner that makes our tax system more progressive and would not require changing the state constitution.
Taxes are the main way communities pay for the things we do together. Taxes pay for essential programs and infrastructure we take for granted, like fire protection, public education, and health inspectors; roads, bridges, and public transit; and the support for people facing hard times. Examining how much people at different income levels pay in taxes is important when considering the fairness of tax policy.
The opportunity to live a healthy life begins long before a person shows up at the doctor’s office or hospital; health begins where people live, learn, work, and play. There is growing recognition that greater attention to the social determinants of health – things like having stable housing, safe, walkable neighborhoods with accessible transportation, grocery stores with affordable, nutritious options, schools that are equipped to provide high-quality education, and incomes that enable families to make ends meet – is critical to making meaningful improvements to health. This paper briefly examines the health impact of one program that provides economic support for low-income working families: the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).