How Much Have Business Taxes Increased?

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Upon release of the Governor’s budget, the issue of business taxes came to the fore.

A coalition of business groups claimed that taxes had increased by $1 billion over the past few years. The administration, a bit snarkily (but with creative use of technology), replied that these claims were outrageous. A tip of the pen to Blue Mass Group as the source for these documents. (Curious why a release attributed to the Governor’s Office only shows up on that site? I am too.)

However, we’ve got a new, unimpeachable source of data to referee these claims — the Commonwealth’s Official Statement. (Another tip of the pen– to A Healthy Blog for figuring out how to post this publicly). It details how recent changes in state tax law have impacted businesses.

The following are the estimated annual impact of changes in state tax law on businesses, from the Department of Revenue:

– Changes in sales tax (pg. A-14) — $71m – $81m

– Change in Tax Structure rules (pg. A-14) — $178m

– Change in REIT structure (pg. A-14) — $40m – $60m

– Proposed ‘Loophole Closures’ (pg. A-45) — $500m

So there’s your (partial) total — between $309m and $339m on an annual basis, plus the potential for an additional $500m.

Why partial?  Because the above total does not count the increase in unemployment insurance taxes.  Look for a forthcoming policy brief and blog post dealing with that topic.