Taxachusetts – Play, Pay, But Don’t Stay

My wife and I moved to Massachusetts from the Detroit area in May of 2000. We had very high expectations for what our lives would be like here. We already had family living in the region and we were looking forward to forging new friendships as we took our careers to a new level. After nearly nine years I’ve decided to break my silence for the benefit of mankind. I’ve decided to speak my mind about many of the nasty little secrets outsiders don’t know about in the land called Taxachusetts.

No, it’s not that bad. But as far as I am concerned, it’s not that good, either. The first thing you’ll notice when you get to Massachusetts is there is a tax on everything. I’m not kidding – they really do tax everything. I think the only thing they don’t tax is the air that you breath but that’s because oxygen isn’t a taxable, physical commodity unless you purchase and consume it from a regulated container. In that case, expect to pay the 6.28% Oxygen From A Regulated Container tax on that. To make up for not being able to tax the open oxygen that people breath, Taxachusetts simply imposes a tax on each breath you take (known as the Each Breath You Take tax). Each resident is required by law to wear a special tether device around their neck that registers the number of breaths taken each day. At the end of the tax year you are required to download that data into the state’s central database and it is used in conjunction with your annual state tax return. Pretty slick, huh? Even more shocking is the 2.75% Database Transaction tax incurred when downloading that data!


Have you ever driven in Boston? Even if you have a GPS device it’s a traumatic experience that can possibly render you sterile. Yes, Boston is a pretty old city and the streets follow old trails made by our drunken forefathers looking for a spot to pee. But come on – does every street have to be one way? I come from the Detroit area. The street structure in Detroit is based on a north-south east-west grid system. You cannot get lost while driving in Detroit or its suburbs unless, well, you’re from Boston. Every time I drive in to Boston I am going to the same place and each time I have had to take a different route. I won’t even dare to fly in to Logan Airport because I’d probably end up in Sweden or Norway just by trying to drive out of the city to get home.

Don’t get me wrong, Boston is a very cool city as long as you see it on foot. It is so steeped in history (don’t forget your 3.40% History tax) you’re in awe as you walk around through its winding streets. Some of the old architecture is pretty spectacular and there are some great places to visit. The people appear to be nice but they all seem to just be trying to get somewhere. They don’t make eye contact with you, probably because of the 2.55% Eye Contact tax. Cross the river and check out Cambridge, home to Harvard and MIT. The Harvard campus and surrounding community is quite a fascinating experience. As a bonus, the Fascinating Experience tax was rescinded by voters in 2002!

Winter. There is nothing like winter in New England. If you enjoy skiing, this is your place. It really is the poor man’s Colorado. Men that ski here are poor because of the Ski tax, currently at 3.7%. But if you hate the frozen outdoors like I do, then New England becomes a combination of hell and Martha Stewart rolled into one. It’s like being tied to a chair with your eyelids propped open and being forced to watch Hannah Montana videos 24/7. When it snows here it doesn’t just drop a little and move away out to sea. No, it has to drop a minimum of ten inches at a time, and it’s usually followed up by sleet and/or rain or, as they call it here, a “wintry mix”. There is no Wintry Mix tax because you’re already paying a Snow blower tax at 6.85% and a Broken Back Because You Slipped and Fell tax of 4.5%.

Many people don’t know that this region offers some of the most exciting natural beauty in the country! YAY! Something NICE to say about New England! We have mountains, lakes, rivers and a thing called the Atlantic Ocean. We have the coolest shoreline that stretches up Taxachusetts through New Hampshire into Maine. Along with all that coolness we also have some of the most awesome wildlife that we can experience. From the Whales off Cape Ann to the Moose in Maine, we’ve got some pretty cool stuff.

So if you come here, make sure you pay the gas tax and drive around to experience the region. Pay the dining tax so you can enjoy some fine meals at some excellent restaurants. Pay the crazy parking tax at Fenway Park to see the Sox and even shell out some cash for that Passing Whiff tax while you’re there. If you come in the summer you’ll miss paying the Snow blower tax, the Broken Back Because You Slipped and Fell tax and the Ski tax. Hopefully you don’t smoke cigarettes because, well, you wouldn’t believe the tax on those things.

You can play and pay, but in the end it’s best if you don’t stay. I haven’t even begun to talk about the Excise tax, the View tax, the Property tax, the Food tax, the Sales tax, the Payroll tax, the Water tax, the Grass tax, the Gardening tax, the Dream tax, the Swallow tax, the Right Turn On Red tax, the Favorite Color tax, the Happiness tax or even the Right To Vote tax.

When the season changes and the flowers come out, one experiences a feeling of pure joy. Winters last forever here and the snow usually melts away by mid May. Temper your enthusiasm, though, because after you pay your Pure Joy tax at a rate of 4%, you have to deal with a phenonenon that happens in New England during the months of nice weather. Picture this if you will – you have a funnel that has a quarter inch hole at the bottom and the cone section of the funnel is ten feet wide and five feet deep. You have eighteen dump trucks, each filled to capacity with water. Line up all of the dump trucks around the cone and have each truck dump their load of water into the funnel all at the same time. I’d bet you’re thinking the results would be pretty disastrous, right?

In Taxachusetts we call this “Going to The Cape” if the disastrous flow is heading south. If that flow moves in a northerly direction we call that “Going to the Lake”, which is Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. People have been traveling to these two resort destinations for hundreds of years yet no one had the foresight to build roadways capable of handling the massive volume. People rush to get out of work on Fridays so they can go sit in traffic jams with their car windows rolled up and their air conditioning on. Then when Sunday arrives, they do the same thing only in reverse. When these morons arrive back at their home destination they are welcomed by a You Are An Idiot tax bill taped to their front door. Since the traffic backups become worse going to and from these places each year, that percentage on the tax increases .25% annually.
Boston sports fans are an interesting breed. Many psychiatrists believe the demeanor of the Boston sports fan is based on the deeply rooted inferiority complex they have with nearby New York City. From a sports standpoint Boston has historically played second fiddle to New York especially in the world of baseball.

Even through all of the past successes of the Celtics Boston sports fans still suffer. During the past nine years the Patriots and Red Sox have started becoming successful and suddenly now the Bruins also, but for some reason Boston sports seem mired with a chip on their collective shoulder. They pass the Chip On Your Shoulder tax of 5.2% onto the fan base which makes them treat fans of the away team with a certain rudeness usually only found at European “football” games. I would be an idiot, however, if I didn’t mention that Fenway Park is a truly great venue to see a baseball game. It will be a national shame when that old barn has to come down. Walking around this park begs the spirit of the game and the true history of America’s favorite pastime. To feel her shake under your feet and to catch a passing whiff of the hot dogs of Yawkey Way make this place alone worth coming to Boston for. PS, incredibly there are no taxes on hot dogs at Fenway, but you will have to ante up and pay the big Passing Whiff tax of 9.76%.

It can’t all be bad, can it? I mean, people have lived here for generations and they continue to do so. It seems some people are catching on and discovering the nasty secrets, though. A few years ago issued results of their study finding that 15,000 new graduates leave the region annually to find work in their chosen field. Why? Because the cost of living is so incredibly high in Taxachusetts that a person who isn’t yet established in their profession can’t afford to live here! Housing costs, insurance fees, groceries, services, utilities the list goes on and on to the point of having to pay the state Headache tax of 3.55%!

So there has to be an upside to all this. I can’t sit here and rant on and on because if it’s this bad, why have I lived here for nine years? Why have I put up with a situation that many people just become numb to and view as acceptable? The reason is also a little secret that most New Englanders know about but many outside the region don’t. Sure, you have to pay some taxes to experience the secret, but those taxes are actually well worth it because the secret is the secret to being able to tolerate this whole state of Taxachusetts.
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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

     /  March 12, 2009

    Funny, yo!


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