For Immediate Release
May 4, 2004
Contact: Barbara Anderson - (508) 384-0100
The long winter of our discontent is over: Governor
Romney is moving to unfreeze the voters’ income tax rollback that the
Legislature froze two years ago. Yea Gov!
But lo, the sound of the cuckoo is heard in the land.
The More Is Never Enough (MINE) spending lobby wants to grab the money
and increase the budget even more. The so-called Massachusetts
Taxpayers Foundation would let the Legislature keep its past tax
hikes, so it can once again increase the size of government in good
times, setting up the state’s next "fiscal crisis."
Both groups are still opposed to giving ordinary
working people the tax rollback that was promised them when the income
tax rate was "temporarily" hiked from 5 to 5.75 percent in
1989. Both groups again show their contempt for the voters who mandated
that the rate be restored to its historic 5 percent rate.
It is important to remember these facts:
1. The Massachusetts income tax rate was always
5 percent, until it was raised "temporarily" during the 1989
fiscal crisis. The state budget has since more than doubled.
2. The voters finally kept the government’s
promise that the rate hike would be temporary when they endorsed CLT’s
and Governor Cellucci’s income tax rollback in November 2000 by 59-41
percent. This vote was to phase out the temporary rate hike over three
years, and the rate was supposed to have returned to 5 percent for tax
year 2003 but was temporarily "frozen" because of the most
recent fiscal crisis.
3. These cyclical fiscal crises are engendered
by overspending in good economic years, creating bigger and bigger
budgets that cannot be sustained during cyclical economic downturns.
4. In 2000, the Massachusetts tax burden ranked
5th per capita, and 23rd relative to personal income. In 2003, the
Massachusetts tax burden ranked 3rd per capita, – 30.3 percent above
the national average – and 13th relative to personal income.
5. Massachusetts per-pupil expenditures are 4th
highest in the nation, 35 percent above the national average. And
regardless of what the Supreme Judicial Court might say about school
spending, the Legislature cannot be forced to raise taxes to pay for a
court decision anymore than it could be forced to fund Clean Elections
or vote on an initiative petition for a constitutional amendment, also
ordered by the high court.
6. CLT proposed and the Legislature adopted our
voluntary tax check-off that first appeared on income tax forms last
year. Any who wish to pay their income tax at the old 5.85 percent rate
are free now to easily do so – though there have been but a handful of
takers. Apparently if the tax rollback ballot question was available
today, we’d get a vote of better than 99 percent!
Governor Romney pledged that he would continue the people’s
rollback as soon as we emerged from the economic cycle downturn. We
applaud his proposal to keep The Promise and immediately restore the
income tax rate to 5 percent.
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