The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

23 December 2004

Mass Says: Squeal on Fellow Citizens

Did it ever occur to Massachusetts politicians that residents are evading taxes using neighboring states because they are too high in the first place? Rather than cut down on wasteful spending and streamline government they choose to be punitive and encourage people to squeal on each other (Boston Globe):

Gov. Mitt Romney has said that his administration will get tough with tax evaders as well. This includes residents who rent post office boxes in New Hampshire to avoid taxes and other fees.

The state established its own hot line -- 1-800-I-Pay-Tax -- to report Massachusetts residents with out-of-state plates. In the last two years, the state telephone line received 1,232 tips. Of those, 262 violators complied immediately by registering in Massachusetts and another 343 complied after being threatened with a hearing before the Department of Motor Vehicles.

"If you look at the numbers we're picking up, it's definitely becoming more and more successful," said Rob Creedon, spokesman for the Registry.

Michael W. Hennessy, city council vice chairman, said he sometimes picks up his grandchildren from school and sees people with New Hampshire plates also getting students. He said the issue has been one of his "pet peeves" for some time.

"Unfortunately, the smell test is a little tough because you have neighbor pitted against neighbor," Hennessy said of the hot line. "But everyone should be on the same playing field."


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