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The Boston Globe


Argument against tax hikes is questionable

In “Invest, but don’t play Robin Hood” (Op-ed, Jan. 24) Edward L. Glaeser argues that Governor Patrick’s efforts to raise revenue in a way that would make the Commonwealth’s tax system more progressive — i.e., have people with high incomes pay a larger share — won’t work. Glaeser cites a study claiming that “people and businesses can just leave for jurisdictions with more favorable tax conditions.” He also notes that a “separate study of a 2004 New Jersey millionaires’ tax concluded that it resulted in a loss of $2.5 billion in income in the state.”

Glaeser has been very selective in the studies he chooses to cite. For example, he ignores a 2011 study at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, focusing on New England, which “suggests that the impact of taxes on cross-state migration decisions is weak. There are many reasons households do not flee from a state when taxes are increased, including the fact that they value the public services financed by taxes, the cost of relocating to a different state (both financially and psychologically) is quite high, and the potential gains from moving are often small.”

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