Massachusetts has done some amazing things of late, with its recent vote to tax the hell out of the rich being a real progressive point.
Meanwhile, voters there also elected Maura Healey in November and she is a good solid liberal. One of her early moves is for tax reform. Now, there are places where you can absolutely reform the Massachusetts tax structure to make it more fair. Unfortunately, as part of this Healey wants to give back a bunch of the money the state has just taken from the rich to support public schools and transportation infrastructure by gutting the state’s estate tax.
Raising the threshold for the commonwealth’s estate tax is also on Healey’s tax reform agenda.
“We’re way behind other states when it comes to the estate tax, and this makes a real big difference to people — and not wealthy people — but people who are looking to sell homes that have appreciated over time here,” Healey said on GBH Tuesday afternoon. “It will, I believe, get us in the direction we need to go in terms of providing the right relief, progressive tax reform to people who need it the most, while also creating more growth opportunities.”
In this, she is building on Charlie Baker’s concerns about the “middle class.”
Baker, expressing his own concern about Massachusetts’ waning competitiveness, had proposed doubling the estate tax threshold to $2 million, while eliminating the cliff effect in which taxation starts from the first dollar. Healey did not detail her own potential revisions to the estate tax on Tuesday.
Let’s assume Healey’s threshold is somewhere around that $2 million number. There’s only one thing to say to that–Come. On. The estate tax absolutely is 100% about the rich. This isn’t about the middle class. It sure as hell isn’t about the working class. Right now, if you have an estate of $1 million, your estate tax is….$36,500. What this is about is Healey’s base of rich liberals in Cambridge and Somerville and other rich Boston burbs. This is just bad policy. It deserves more attention and pressure on her.