By John Suayan | The Center Square
The plan by Massachusetts officials to continue taxing telecommuters from New Hampshire has received criticism, with concerns that a new type of border war is on the horizon.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced many employees to shift from their offices to their dining rooms, New Hampshire residents who traveled into the Bay State for work paid an income tax to verify their out-of-state employment.
After New England began to record its own infections, Massachusetts Gov. Chris Baker made his intentions to continue taxing workers from New Hampshire – even if they were relegated to telecommuting – known.
Massachusetts’s Department of Revenue continued to collect income tax from homebound out-of-state workers, with plans to do so until the end of the year, The Boston Globe reported. A day in which an New Hampshire employee clocks in from home is classified as in an office day under Baker’s guidelines.
New Hampshire lawmakers expressed indignation toward Massachusetts’s actions. Gov. Chris Sununu instructed his attorney general to review the taxation rules of New Hampshire’s neighbors to make sure constituents are not being singled out for taxes they should not be paying.
Sununu, a Republican, said about 84,000 New Hampshire residents regularly commuted south across state lines pre-pandemic.
The outrage is bipartisan as two Democratic New Hampshire state senators sent a letter to Massachusetts revenue commissioner Geoffrey Snyder criticizing Massachusetts’ plans to impose taxes on New Hampshire residents forced to telecommute through the end of 2020 or whenever Baker lifts the state of emergency.
“The notion that New Hampshire residents who are, in many cases, doing the safe thing [and staying home] and are getting penalized for doing that, is anti-worker and anti-public health,” state Sen. Dan Feltes, a one of the letter’s co-authors and a Democrat who is running for New Hampshire governor, told The Boston Globe. “It seems like a prelude to a long-term rule that hurts New Hampshire workers.”