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LETTERS

State’s high unemployment makes a case against raising income tax on wealthy

Dependable Cleaners in Quincy has seen a precipitous drop in demand for laundering men's and women's dress shirts during the pandemic.
Dependable Cleaners in Quincy has seen a precipitous drop in demand for laundering men's and women's dress shirts during the pandemic.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

In “Economic rebound is stuck at home” (Page A1, Sept. 13), David Williams of Opportunity Insights told authors Shirley Leung and Larry Edelman that “low-income workers are being hit very hard in part because their jobs, their livelihoods, have become increasingly dependent on higher-income households and their spending.”

Williams captures the fundamental reason why state lawmakers should be extremely wary of amending the Massachusetts Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax that nearly doubles state income taxes on those earning over $1 million annually.

Workers in hard-hit industries such as retail, hospitality, and travel would lose the most from such a move because of the degree to which they depend on those with disposable income. Drive higher-income families from the state, and these industries, which employed 800,000 people pre-pandemic, will endure further economic devastation.

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The result would be an economic malaise and high unemployment that extend far beyond the pandemic.

The services businesses in these hard-hit sectors must work locally. Massachusetts‘ many companies competing in national and global markets employ people who are often highly compensated and among our most mobile citizens.

With the surge in remote work since the beginning of the pandemic, particularly for those in higher-paying occupations, the barriers to exit the Commonwealth have shrunk considerably. Let’s not hasten that exit by adopting a graduated income tax.

Jim Stergios

Executive director

Pioneer Institute

Boston