If state competitiveness were like March Madness, Massachusetts wouldn’t have a shot
As the March Madness tournament heats up, the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance (MassFiscal) has announced the launch of their latest advocacy campaign, which is themed “Gov. Healey’s March Madness” and compares the competitiveness of Massachusetts to New Hampshire and Florida. Specifically, the advocacy campaign targets Governor Maura Healey’s tax reforms as not being bold enough to compete with the country’s most economically competitive states: New Hampshire and Florida. Those states are the top two destinations to which Massachusetts taxpayers flee. On Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., Governor Healey’s tax package will receive a legislative hearing before the Joint Committee on Revenue.
MassFiscal’s campaign cites decreasing state revenues, increased state borrowing, reports showing the Commonwealth is hemorrhaging taxpaying residents, major increases in the cost of living, and concerns from industry leaders and small business advocates over the declines in the state’s economic competitiveness ratings as reasons why Governor Healey is “missing the basket” on keeping Massachusetts competitive.
A recent Tax Foundation report shows that Massachusetts was the only state in the country to increase its income tax in 2023, and the top two destinations for Massachusetts taxpayers who are leaving are New Hampshire and Florida – both states without any income tax whatsoever. The mailer calls for bold action by Beacon Hill lawmakers to help Massachusetts compete with these more competitive states, help stop the outflow of taxpayers and prevent Massachusetts from getting “eliminated” in the first round. A copy of the Alliance’s mailer may be found at https://assets.nationbuilder.com/massfiscal/pages/2300/attachments/original/1679923009/MFA_March_Mad_PC_Final-web.pdf?1679923009. The campaign will also be featured on social media ads and email ad campaigns, such as MASSterList.
“MassFiscal’s campaign aims to implore State House leaders to compare our tax policies to the most economically competitive states in the country, New Hampshire and Florida. The Commonwealth needs to get into the game and start to get into the business of competing. States like New Hampshire and Florida are taking our best players and paying them more by taxing them less, or not at all. Governor Healey’s tax package will not be enough and legislative leaders need to do a lot more if they ever want to compete with the most competitive states in the country,” stated MassFiscal Spokesperson/Board Member Paul D. Craney.
“Another basketball comparison would be, if New Hampshire and Florida were the Harlem Globetrotters and Massachusetts were the Washington Generals. Our uncompetitive tax policies are that laughable when compared to our competition,” continued Craney.
He added, “The narrow passage of the income surtax which represented an 80 percent increase for some small businesses, retirees, home sales and high-income earners put Massachusetts at a distinct disadvantage. However, as our mailer points out, there are several other taxes which also contribute, and if we ever want to be competitive, we need to eliminate these taxes.”
The mailer was sent to neighborhoods across the state, as well as nearly every state and municipal elected official. It showcases how Massachusetts has the most aggressive estate tax in the country, while New Hampshire and Florida do not have an estate tax. Massachusetts has the sixth highest capital gains tax, while New Hampshire and Florida do not have a capital gains tax. Massachusetts has the second highest debt per capita, while New Hampshire and Florida do much better. Massachusetts is ranked as the 46th best state for its “business tax climate,” while New Hampshire is sixth best and Florida is fourth best.
“If Governor Maura Healey, Speaker Ron Mariano, and Senate President Karen Spilka want to keep our state in the game economically speaking, we need to take bolder action. The Governor’s tax package will not be enough. Our campaign puts the focus on what other states are doing and how Massachusetts can begin to compete with them. It will take broad tax cuts and tax eliminations, that is the only way to compete,” concluded Craney.