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“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

If that’s your dream, you no longer have to go on the TV game show – just hang around Massachusetts until 2019, and the state will declare you one – at least for income-tax purposes.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the new “millionaires’ tax” that the Beacon Hill hackerama wants to impose – but don’t worry, it’ll only be on “millionaires.” Wink wink nudge nudge. And oh by the way, all that extra revenue – it’s earmarked for education and transportation. Triple wink, triple nudge.

Right now Massachusetts has a flat income-tax rate of just over 5 percent. It used to be 5 percent but in 1989 the hacks declared a fiscal emergency and raised it to 6.25 percent, but only until the emergency was over. They were lying. Needless to say, the emergency continues, even 17 years after the electorate voted to reduce the tax rate back to 5 percent.

So the payroll Charlies weren’t telling the truth then, but you can trust them now when they say their confiscatory new tax will only be imposed on millionaires.

Five times the voters have nixed a graduated income tax – in ’62, ’68, ’72, ’76 and 1994. Alas, the electorate is dumbing down, so the trough-feeders are back for another bite at the apple. The plan is to put the grift on the statewide ballot in 2018, with the big lie that the new 4 percent so-called surcharge will only be imposed on income of more than $1 million a year.

What could possibly go wrong?

Do you suppose that maybe, just maybe, the “rich” will pack up and leave, or finagle their taxes to keep them below one million? Hell, state revenue collections are already in free fall, and the tax hike is still at least two years away.

Connecticut has been wildly jacking up its taxes. How’s that working out of them? Just ask GE. According to new Nutmeg State numbers released last week, “tax revenue from the state’s top 100 highest-paying taxpayers declined 45 percent from 2015 to 2016.”

Gee, what do you suppose happened? Did all the millionaires get… laid off? Did they all die?

You know, it’s never been that difficult to pack up and move to a low- or no-tax state. Joe Kennedy decamped from New York to Palm Beach back in the 1940’s and never looked back. But with the internet, it’s easier than ever.

The only people who haven’t figured this out are the hacks.

There used to be a billionaire in New Jersey named David Tepper. Last year for some reason – could it have been the state’s 8.97 percent tax rate? – he decided to move to no-tax Florida. According to the New York Times, Tepper’s flight cost the Garden State “hundreds of millions of dollars in lost payments.”

“How can you blame him?” asked the Republican legislative leader in Trenton.

Maryland was another state that tried the soak-the-so-called-rich formula. In one year, 2009, the state’s population of millionaires dropped by one-third. So they went the Connecticut route – they raised taxes again. According to the Daily Caller, the biggest hikes went into effect in 2012, and that year, 5,600 tax filers moved out of Maryland.

The economic refugees had an average income of $291,000.

And now the hacks on Beacon Hill are claiming that their new “millionaires’ tax” will bring in an extra $2 billion a year. Pay no attention to what’s happened in all the other states that have tried taxing their way into the black – New York, California, Illinois, hell, even Venezuela. Our hacks have studies – yes, studies, by professors and Ph.D.’s! — to prove that absolutely no one will flee the Bay State.

When this tax calamity is passed – and it will pass – revenues will drop. And as the red ink gushes, the hacks will say, ya know, who could have ever predicted this? But we’ve got to do something to keep the hackerama humming.

So to balance the budget in this, uh, fiscal emergency, we are going to expand the millionaires’ surtax to anyone making over, oh, how does $40,000 a year sound?

Don’t worry, they’ll tell you, it’ll only hurt for a second. But the pain will pass. It’s just temporary, like the tolls on the Mass Pike, and the 1989 income-tax surcharge. Temporary. Yeah, that’s the ticket, temporary!

Who wants to be a millionaire? In 2019, in Massachusetts, you won’t have any choice in the matter.

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Howie Carr is the New York Times best-selling author of The Brothers Bulger and Hitman, in addition to several other Boston organized-crime books and two novels. He is the host of a New England-wide radio talk-show syndicated to more than 20 stations, and is a member of the Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago.

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