Thursday, May 21, 2009

Meals Tax questions...

The papers didn't have any details on the 2% Meals Tax approved by the MA Senate, so I waded through many amazingly ugly state government web pages and eventually found it. One part of it puzzles me, though:
The commissioner shall remit 50 per cent of the amount collected to the originating city or town, 7.5 per cent to the Municipal Regionalization Incentives Fund established in section 35FF of chapter 10 of the general laws and the balance to cities and towns that have accepted this section; provided, however, that no city or town shall receive more than the total it collected from such sales tax on meals within the corresponding calendar year.
So 50% goes right back to the town, 7.5% goes to the Regionalization Fund. And how does the other 42.5% get divvied up... according to population? Number of Towns? Something else?

Why not just have 92.5% go back to the towns? One of my pet peeves is the multitude of confusing state revenue sharing formulas we've got in this State; are we about to get another one?

I have no idea what the Regionalization Fund is. What if I don't WANT to be regionalized?

Anyway, if this version of the Meals Tax becomes law, and if my interpretation that 90-something-percent of the money will go to the Towns is correct... spiffy!


Anonymous said...

The 42.5% goes to Boston - where else would it go.

Gavin Andresen said...

Sigh. I think you may be right.

I'll have to run some numbers on what 2% of meals in Boston versus the rest of the state looks like, but the politics of this make sense: "Yes, you can get some money from local restaurants, but we're going to make you spend-thrift country bumpkins pay to regionalize yourselves."

Anonymous said...

The further the money travels, the less we get back.

I think that's a law of political economics.

And, on this particular trip, the city of Boston is a very sticky wicket.