Massachusetts End the Income Tax Initiative, Question 1 (2002)

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The Massachusetts End the Income Tax Initiative, also known as Question 1, was on the November 5, 2002 ballot in Massachusetts as a citizen initiative. It was defeated.

Question 1 sought to eliminate the state personal income tax.


The initiative sponsor, Committee for Small Government, tried to pass a similar initiative on the Massachusetts ballot in November 2008. The 2008 initiative was also defeated.

Election results

Question 1 (End State Income Tax)
Defeatedd No1,070,66848.22%
Yes 885,683 39.89%

Official results via: The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Elections Division

Text of measure


The proposed law would provide that no income or other gain realized on or after July 1, 2003, would be subject to the state personal income tax. That tax applies to income received or gain realized by individuals and married couples, by estates of deceased persons, by certain trustees and other fiduciaries, by persons who are partners in and receive income from partnerships, by corporate trusts, and by persons who receive income as shareholders of “S corporations” as defined under federal tax law. The proposed law would not affect the tax due on income or gain realized before July 1, 2003. The proposed law states that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.[1][2]

Full text

The full text of the legislation proposed by the question is available here.

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The initiative was sponsored by the Committee for Small Government. They offered the following arguments for ending the income tax[3][4]:

  • 9 U.S. states function without an income tax, therefore Massachusetts could function without an income tax.
  • 3,000,000 workers of Massachusetts would get back $3,000 every year.
  • Ending the income tax would lead to 300,000 to 500,000 new jobs in Massachusetts due to $9 billion going back into the state's economy.
  • Ending the income tax would lead to increased charitable giving.
  • Massachusetts' state budget doubled from 1992 to 2002 with little to show for it.


The initiative was opposed by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. They argued that the proposed law was too extreme, and would send the state budget into a state of chaos by eliminating the government's principal source of income. They argued that eliminating the income tax would eliminate resources necessary for the state to meet its legal obligations under the Massachusetts Constitution in areas such as education and health care, forcing the state to raise property and sales taxes.

They also argued that 250,000 Massachusetts citizens--the so-called "working poor"--would actually lose money because they would no longer receive the refunds from earned income tax credits.[5][6]

See also

External links

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  1. Information for Voters 2002: Ballot Question 1 Secretary of State website
  2. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  3. 9 Common Sense Reasons to End the Income Tax in Massachusetts by Carla Howell, Committee for Small Government
  4. Information for Voters 2002: Ballot Question 1 Secretary of State website
  5. The Case Against Question 1 Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation argument against the initiative
  6. Information for Voters 2002: Ballot Question 1 Secretary of State website