Is Massachusetts About to Take a Permanent Tax Holiday?

1210600558There is no worse feeling than filing your taxes and seeing how much of your income has gone to the state. Thousands of dollars you could have used for myriad other purposes disappear into the state coffers, never to be seen again.

That money is supposed to do things like fix roads and bridges. But, there are only so many huge potholes you can hit before you start to wonder if it’s really worth it. The state government knows this, and is preparing to battle a referendum that would eliminate Massachusetts’ income tax.

In 2002, that state pooh-poohed a similar ballot measure, only to find that 45 percent of voters supported it (no kidding). Government officials don’t plan to make that mistake again, especially during an economic downturn.

“When people are being squeezed, when their energy costs are rising, gas costs are going up, food costs are going up, they’re going to say, ‘That’s a good idea. That would be good for me,’ ” [Senate President Therese] Murray said. “But when their child has no school to go to and they can’t get out their door to go to work because the street hasn’t been plowed in the winter, I think the public would be back here really quick saying, ‘Please, fix this.’ “

There’s a small part of us that kinds of hopes that it does pass this time around, if only to see the chaos that would ensue. Schools closing their doors. Drivers careening about recklessly without cops to keep them in line. Untrained citizens driving the T because employees walked out. It would be hilarious, at least until we break an axle in a particularly deep pothole.