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Does Massachusetts still live up to the old nickname Taxachusetts?

Question Everything: Is Massachusetts still Taxachusetts?
Question Everything: Is Massachusetts still Taxachusetts? 03:29

BOSTON - Now that the tax filing deadline has come and gone in Massachusetts, most of us have filed, and few are happy about it. "Very painful," said Sarah Martin from Ashland, who can't help but wonder if it's because of where we live. "Taxachusetts," she said.

For WBZ's Question Everything series, we asked whether our state still lives up to the old nickname Taxachusetts, and looked into how much of the Bay State's bad tax reputation is myth versus reality. Here's what we found out.

According to the U.S Census Bureau's most recent numbers, Massachusetts collected a total of $41,603,097,000 in state and local taxes in 2022. That's enough to buy the Patriots, the Red Sox, Celtics, and the Bruins, and still have enough left over to buy the Disney World Resort.

In Massachusetts, 11.5% of our net product goes to state and local taxes. "I always feel like I'm paying too much in taxes as a single parent in Massachusetts, absolutely," a Framingham mom told us.

Massachusetts ranks better than 13 states    

Believe it or not, according to data from the Tax Foundation, Taxachusetts ranks better than 13 other states. Tax York is number one on the list with the highest tax burden in the country. Tax-necticut is second, and Tax-waii is third.

Still, Ruth Hepp from Natick said it feels like Taxachusetts. Others agree. "The state is overtaxed," said Brian Paige from Wellesley. "It's really painful."

Impact of new millionaire tax  

"It still hurts to people when you write those big checks. It's not easy," said Mary Connaughton, who's with the spending watchdog group Pioneer Institute. She said the most recent census data does not show the impact of Massachusetts' new millionaire tax. She said residents will feel the effects even if they don't think they're in the millionaire club, especially business owners and people selling homes. "Prices of homes are going up and up and up," said Connaughton. "So, there are a lot of people that don't realize they're going to fall into this category."

"I think one of the things we have to be willing to do is to dust off the tax code," said Doug Howgate, President of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. He said he's concerned that true or not, Massachusetts' bad tax reputation is prompting people to move to the other states. "Our economic success is going to be driven by keeping folks in Massachusetts," he said.

If death and taxes are the only certainties in life, taxpayer advocacy groups say it's up to lawmakers to try to make it feel like our investment is worth it.  

If you have a question you'd like us to look into, please email   

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