Council, members receive press mentions for income tax stance
The Providers' Council and others in the human services sector received mentions in the press in mid-December for their position that the income tax rate cut -- from 5.3 percent to 5.25 percent -- could mean a loss of services and may mislead taxpayers into thinking the state has the revenue it needs to meet upcoming obligations.
Council President and CEO Michael Weekes told the Boston Globe, Associated Press and State House News Service that the cuts had the potential to be damaging to the sector. WORK, Inc. CEO James Cassetta had a Letter to the Editor in the Boston Globe. Read the articles below.
Social service advocates say the state should skip the tax cut, given that many of the neediest are expected to be hit hard in next year’s budget.
“We are concerned that this move could end up hurting the 1 in 10 individuals who receive vital human services from our state,’’ Michael Weekes, president and chief executive officer of the Providers’ Council, said in a statement. “But we must not mislead taxpayers that we have more than enough revenue in a sector where nearly 60 percent of organizations have had cumulative deficits on their state activities since 1993.’’
Michael Weekes, president and CEO of the Providers' Council, a group representing human services agencies in Massachusetts, said he was concerned the tax cut could lead to less funding for social programs.
"We understand state residents need tax relief - many of those who are struggling with low wages are direct care workers in the human services system," Weekes said. "But we must ensure that cutting the state’s tax rate does not hurt our most vulnerable who receive essential supports from this chronically underfunded sector."
But advocates for services that have been gored by budget cuts since the start economic collapse in 2008 and 2009 spoke up Thursday, wondering why, when elected officials are publicly warning about the prospect of budget cuts to programs that serve the neediest residents, should a tax cut estimated to cost $111 million to $117 million a year be allowed to take effect unchallenged.
“As revenue officials are cutting the state’s tax rate and budget officials are pointing toward a difficult 2012, we are concerned that this move could end up hurting the one in ten individuals who receive vital human services from our state,” said Providers’ Council President Michael Weekes. “We understand state residents need tax relief – many of those who are struggling with low wages are direct care workers in the human services system,” he added. “But we must ensure that cutting the state’s tax rate does not hurt our most vulnerable who receive essential supports from this chronically underfunded sector.”
THE STATE of Massachusetts is in danger of playing the role of Scrooge this holiday season, as it prepares to cut the tax rate and eliminate about $114 million in state revenues to save the average Massachusetts family a mere 75 cents week (“Mass. taxpayers to gain bit of relief starting Jan. 1,’’ Metro, Dec. 16).
Instead of providing real relief to struggling families, a tax cut in this shaky economic climate sends the wrong message and misleads taxpayers into believing the state has more than enough revenue, particularly when the human services sector would likely see a shortfall.