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Arnold M. Soloway, assistant professor of Economics, who opposed the planned three per cent Massachusetts sales tax in a debate with Governor Furcolo on Saturday, last night outlined the features of an alternate tax plan which he called "the fairest possible under present conditions."
In the debate, which was witnessed by 300 people attending the Education Conference of the Massachusetts Federation of Teachers at the Business School, Furcolo asked "what other feasible method is there for raising the additional income?"
Soloway, answering the governor, opposed the new sales tax and called instead for the "proper utilization of income tax laws now on the books."
"I am certainly against a 'soak the rich' policy," he continued. "All taxes ultimately come from income, and a revenue plan, to be really productive, must tax income where income is."
Pointing out that 98 per cent of Bay State family incomes are under $10,000, Soloway stated that "it is an old and happy illusion that we can support the kind of government we want by taxing the few relatively wealthy. But it is only an illusion."
The economist answered Furcolo's challenge by pointing to possible revisions in the existing income tax laws which, he claimed, would raise "about twice as much as Furcolo expects from the sales tax." His major proposals were:
1.) "to lower personal tax exemptions, which are now well above the federal level."
2.) "to disallow the deduction of federal taxes from income for state taxation purposes."
3.) "to close rental income loopheles."
4. "better collection and administration of personal and corporate income taxes."
Soloway's findings were documented in "A Balanced Fiscal Program for Massachusetts," a study undertaken earlier this year for the Massachusetts Americans for Democratic Action. He based much of his work on the official report of the State Fiscal Survey Commission.
"The explosion of my report into a timely topic is quite accidental," Soloway said. "I did not expect to be involved in a public controversy of this magnitude."
The Soloway Study, to have been released last year, was postponed because of the author's work on another book. It was finally released this December.
"Although I had no intention of being lured into a major public debate," Soloway asserted, "I now feel duty bound to appear where I have to appear."
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