and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation


Friday, March 26, 2004

The ConCon and Initiative Petitions

The following memo was  delivered to every member of the House and Senate
and released to the media statewide.

To:  Members of the Constitutional Convention
From:  Citizens for Limited Taxation
March 26, 2004
Contact:  Barbara Anderson – (508) 384-0100

If you ever get done with the gay marriage issue, CLT hopes you will vote "no" on two other items that are presently also on the ConCon agenda.

Item 3 on the ConCon agenda would kill the initiative petition process in Massachusetts

How ironic, that as legislators try to deal with voter pressure on Item 8, they are also being asked by Senator Rosenberg to kill the initiative petition process that could have spared them the current confusion.

Legislators ignored a valid initiative petition to place an earlier version of DOMA on the 2004 ballot. Though this is not our issue, our consistent defense of the Initiative & Referendum process requires that we point out the wrong that was done signers of that petition when the Legislature ignored it and them in 2002. Members of the Constitutional Convention are also required to vote on the health care initiative whose proponents collected signatures last fall.

We would point out that other legislative amendments do not carry that voter-initiated weight. But should you take them up, CLT urges a "No" vote on a four year term for legislators, and a "No" vote on killing the Initiative and Referendum (I&R). Senate 362, which is item 3 on the ConCon agenda, was already rejected by the Election Laws Committee and we are grateful for the respect shown by that committee for the voters’ initiative. We hope you will vote with the Committee that these assaults on the democratic process Ought NOT to Pass.

Senate helps seniors without hurting everyone else

Speaking of initiative petitions, a statute exempting certain senior citizens from Prop 2˝ overrides is still endangering local taxpayers. It passed the House during an informal session in vacation week. But the Senate, with open debate in a proper session, has passed a larger senior citizen property tax relief bill that does not have this override exclusion in it. CLT has no problem with the larger bill as long as the override exemption remains removed.

We hope the House will accept the Senate version. If seniors are discouraged from voting on overrides, taxes are more likely to go up for other property taxpayers who cannot afford to pay the tax hike, never mind the seniors’ share too. Working families with mortgages, lower-income singles, the unemployed, not-quite-seniors with health problems, all are hurt by high property taxes just as seniors are. The Senate version of senior tax relief is fair to everyone and encourages all local voters to participate in override elections.

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