January 13, 2005


To boost turnout, one lawmaker pushes $25 tax credit for voters (Megan Tench, January 13, 2005, Boston Globe)

Get-out-the-vote types have tried all kinds of ways to get people to the polls: ad campaigns, rock concerts, buses, and other measures that occasionally fall just short of coercion. Now a Beacon Hill lawmaker says he's come up with a better idea.


Saying there's nothing like the promise of a little extra cash to motivate people, Senator Brian A. Joyce, a Milton Democrat, wants to give a $25 tax credit to Massachusetts residents who vote in the state's general election. He's proposing that cities and towns give a $25 break on property or excise taxes to those who vote in local elections.

Some scholars and other stewards of the Democratic process recoil at the thought, but Joyce says there's nothing more American.

That has to be the worst idea since getting rid of poll taxes in the first place.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 13, 2005 8:03 AM

Since it is a Democrat's idea, I am sure he must have a plan for:

not to discriminate against the deceased (perhaps a credit against the death tax?),
not to disincentivize those who plan to vote more than once (perhaps a sliding scale of additinal credits per vote?),
and of course the credit can not be a flat $25 but a progressive figure (perhaps, staring at $25 targeted to those ethnic groups least likely to vote, phased out to zero for any white-male).

Posted by: Moe from NC at January 13, 2005 9:10 AM

Isn't the real problem that, by giving a credit against the property and excise tax, this plan would give an extra incentive to the propertied classes?

Posted by: David Cohen at January 13, 2005 10:20 AM

David - If you have an eight-year-old car, you pay more than $25 in excise taxes, so it doesn't take a lot of property to be incented.

Posted by: pj at January 13, 2005 10:26 AM

!eltit ecin

Posted by: at January 13, 2005 12:49 PM

The Democrats have always paid people money to go to the polls. Why not put it into law?

Posted by: Bart at January 13, 2005 2:15 PM

Not just put it into law, but get the state to directly pay for it, too! That way they can keep their own funds to pay for the lawyers needed to steal more close elections.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 13, 2005 4:38 PM

At least he's following in the grand American tradition of having one level of government spending the money of another...

Posted by: jsmith at January 13, 2005 11:31 PM