Massachusetts residents will not get a small income tax cut in the new year, as they did in 2016. The rate will remain at 5.1 percent.
Back in 2000, voters passed a question, incrementally dropping the income tax rate to 5 percent. The legislature then added a provision that only allowed for the decreases if the state hit certain revenue goals, which it didn’t this year.
Noah Berger of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said there’s a balancing act that goes on with taxes.
“There are always trade-offs between tax cuts and spending on things like education or transportation or local aid,” Berger said. “There’s no one simple answer to what the right way to weigh those is.”
The president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, Eileen McAnneny, said the tax breaks approved 16 years ago are a long time in coming. She said the state counts too much on money from income tax.
“A reduction can be costly and I think that’s one of the downsides to being so over-reliant on income tax,” McAnneny said. “Lawmakers and budget makers are being very conservative in their approach to this income tax reduction.”
And it will be at least two more years before the income tax rate falls to the promised 5 percent.