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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It all depends on the meaning of the word "fair"

The Globe offers ample proof today of why taxpayers have a hard time accepting the complaint from business leaders about the "fairness" of the Patrick administration's efforts to close corporate tax loopholes.

That's because there is no fairness in the system -- even when it was designed to be there.

It comes as no surprise that the Romney Administration fiddled and diddled with implementing a system to collect the $295 per employee charge on each worker not covered by companies. Or the "free-rider" levy to compensate for the use of charity care by those same uninsured employees. Myth Romney was for his health care reform law before he was against it.
"The previous administration had no intention of collecting it, so the infrastructure was not put in place," said Representative Patricia Walrath, cochairwoman of the Legislature's Committee on Health Care Financing.
So now the "taxpayers" -- please note that's you and me and not corporations -- are going to be left with the bill.

That's why Deval Patrick is out hustling up support for his call for some new structures that could bring in more money for cash-strapped cities and towns, not to mention the state.

The package calls for allowing communities to collect a tax of up to 2 percent on hotel and restaurant tabs; requires some local pension funds to join the State Retirement Board; allows communities to buy health insurance through the state's Group Insurance Commission; and eliminate a property tax exemption for telecommunications firms. Communities levying the hotel and meals tax would be required to dedicate at least a quarter of the revenue to reducing residential tax bills.

I don't expect to see the telecommunications property tax exemption dropped any time soon. I suspect we'd see the local options meals tax before that.

Oh, wait a minute. Corporations pay meals taxes when they wine and dine customers. Oh never mind, that's deductible as a business expense. My bad.

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