and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Senate Republicans withdraw amendment
for Governor’s income tax rollback;
CLT calls for new Senate Minority Leader

For Immediate Release
May 19, 2004
Contact: Barbara Anderson - (508) 384-0100

Governor Romney had a Senate budget amendment to rollback the income tax rate to 5 percent for 2005. Senate Republicans Lees, Hedlund, Knapik, Brown and Sprague filed the amendment in time to meet the Friday deadline; it was amendment #777, became #355. Yesterday afternoon Senator Lees, apparently “acting alone,” withdrew the amendment.

CLT activists have been calling the Senate Republicans. Here are some of the dumb excuses they have heard.

1. “We didn’t have the votes to win.” No kidding. And your point is.....? The reason we have a minority party is to dream the impossible dream, guys. Use the popular but losing issue to beat the otherwise unbeatable foe.

2. “There would have been a voice vote to kill the amendment, then we couldn’t bring it up again this year, even in the Governor’s deficiency budget.” a) There would be a voice vote only if YOU don’t call for a roll call. What are Republicans for, if not to get a roll call? b) You can’t do the same amendment twice, but the Governor can file anything he wants.

3. “If we make the Democrats vote on a roll call for the rollback, they will get even by not giving us anything for our districts.” Now we are getting closer to the obvious truth. But that’s the problem with being the minority party. Take a stand, fight for the taxpayers who voted for the rollback, and help Governor Romney elect more of you, get us some respect for the voters and their initiative petition laws, have a goal of being the majority party.

We appreciate the support of Sen. JoAnn Sprague and Sen. Bob Hedlund for the income tax rollback amendment. But where were the other four Republicans while Minority Leader Lees was selling us out? We recall that Senators Lees and Tarr both collected signatures in 1999 for the initiative petition that put it on the ballot. Why won’t they support it now?

Here’s the real reason:

Senate Ways & Means Chairwoman Therese Murray, who controls the above-mentioned goodies, has an opponent and doesn’t want to be spotted on this issue. Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees is in her tank, even though the Republican opponent, Tim Duncan, would become part of his team if he won. But Lees is afraid that if enough Republicans win, they might get tired of his devotion to the Democrats and choose themselves a real Republican leader. We think that’s a great idea. The House has had its revolutions; in January, the Senate Republicans should have theirs.

CLT is non-partisan. We would like to see more conservative Democrats too. But Democrats won’t stand up alone, when there aren’t even Republicans fighting for the taxpayers. Every state deserves a two-party system, and Massachusetts doesn’t have one. We applaud Governor Romney for his efforts to create one and hope that some incumbents are defeated this November. But it would help if the second party stood for something, and right now, in the Massachusetts Senate, it stands for ... re-election.

We understand that Governor Romney will file the income tax rollback as part of his final supplemental/deficiency budget. At that time the Democrats will need an amendment to remove the language, in both the House and Senate. We look forward to Republican leadership in getting a roll call vote to be used in the fall campaigns.

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