CITIZENS   FOR  LIMITED  TAXATION
and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

CLT UPDATE
Friday, June 11. 2004

Thank you Ronald Reagan


It was a very good election for Massachusetts taxpayers: November, 1980. Proposition 2Ĺ passed 59-41, and Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States.

Aside from our personal regard for President Reaganís character, and our gratitude for his ending the Cold War, we note as taxpayers that his is the gift that keeps on giving: thanks to one of the Reagan tax cuts, our personal exemption is still indexed for inflation before we pay our federal taxes each year.

The best memorial we as a nation can give in his honor is to strive every day of our lives to justify his faith in the ongoing greatness of America.

Barbara Anderson


Barbara will be a guest tonight on NewsNight, New England Cable News at 8:00 PM, commenting on the passing of Ronald Reagan.


For those of us who so admired Reagan during his presidency -- and who remember the mockery and disdain to which he was so often subjected -- the tributes that have been pouring forth since Saturday help make the sorrow of his death and the awful sickness that preceded it more bearable. History, as he always knew it would, has vindicated him. The man once dismissed as an "amiable dunce" and reviled as a warmonger is now acknowledged as a courageous visionary, an apostle of decency and liberty who left the world far better than he found it....

In his first inaugural address, Reagan described George Washington as both "a monumental man" and "a man of humility." The two qualities merged in the nation's first president. They merged again in the 40th. May he rest in peace.

The Boston Globe
Thursday, June 10, 2004
The modest giant
By Jeff Jacoby


State agencies including the Registry of Motor Vehicles will shut down and 41,000 state workers will stay home tomorrow to honor former President Ronald Reagan, who died Saturday....

The workers will be paid for the day, which means taxpayers will have to shell out about $8 million for employees who don't come to work, estimates Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer.

"Reagan was not a Massachusetts native, so one could argue that this wasn't necessary," he said. "But given the fact that he was a popular president, I think it's appropriate."

The Salem News
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Most state workers have Friday off to honor Reagan


Even some conservatives for whom Mr. Reagan was a hero grumbled about shelling out an estimated $8 million to 41,000 Massachusetts state employees for another paid holiday.

Particularly galling to some is that Boston government workers also will stay home Thursday for Bunker Hill Day, and that they had another day off March 17 for the equally obscure Boston-only legal holiday of Evacuation Day.

"I don't understand why the federal or the state government is shut down," said Chip Ford, a spokesman for the Citizens for Limited Taxation. "I'm sure that Reagan, who wanted limited government, wouldn't have gone along with it.

"I don't see the point of it. Why is it any different for Massachusetts state employees than anyone else?" he added.

The Telegram & Gazette
Friday, June 11, 2004
Some decry ruling for state holiday
Some in Mass. scoff at decision for state holiday


Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

Greetings activists and supporters:

Today, as we each in our own way grieve at the loss of a great and inspirational American leader, I'm still struggling to appreciate just why state employees need another day off to do what the rest of us will do on our own time. Why is this an occasion to shut down government, and if someone can justify this then why is it being done at taxpayers expense in the name of Ronald Reagan of all people? President Reagan fought long and hard both to limit the size of government and the burden on taxpayers; how does this action measure up to his ideals?

If he were still with us and in office, I imagine he'd figure that if we have so many "nonessential" government employees then the purpose for them needs reexamination. He'd sure know how to deal with the Boston Police picket mob and its attempt to hold the city hostage to its labor contract demands: just ask the air-traffic controllers' union, PATCO! (In 1981, he fired 11,350 of them -- almost 70% of the workforce -- after they staged a walk-out.)

When I did the interview with Telegram & Gazette reporter Shaun Suttner yesterday, he mentioned that Speaker Finneran was not shutting down the House today, that it would be business as usual. I pointed out that if he had it would be an empty gesture anyway; "business as usual reigns." The House is in "informal session," which means most members are home "in the district" anyway and besides, this is Friday -- the beginning of a legislator's usual long weekend. Leave it to Finneran to try grabbing extra credit for not doing the unnecessary!

Chip Ford


The Boston Globe
Thursday, June 10, 2004

The modest giant
By Jeff Jacoby


RONALD REAGAN was the first president I was old enough to vote for and the only one I have ever voted for with enthusiasm. He was the preeminent influence on my political coming of age -- so much so that to this day, "Reaganite" is the label that best sums up my political worldview.

For those of us who so admired Reagan during his presidency -- and who remember the mockery and disdain to which he was so often subjected -- the tributes that have been pouring forth since Saturday help make the sorrow of his death and the awful sickness that preceded it more bearable. History, as he always knew it would, has vindicated him. The man once dismissed as an "amiable dunce" and reviled as a warmonger is now acknowledged as a courageous visionary, an apostle of decency and liberty who left the world far better than he found it.

"The American sound," Reagan said in his second inaugural address, "is hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic, daring, decent, and fair." Much the same could be said of Reagan himself. All week long, the accolades have emphasized the character and values that made him the man he was -- his optimism, his patriotism, his self-deprecating humor, his moral clarity, his rocklike belief that freedom is the birthright of every human being, his willingness to call evil by its name, his faith in God, his sheer guts.

But one trait has gone largely unmentioned: His remarkable humility.

In her moving and affectionate account of the 40th president's life, "When Character Was King," Peggy Noonan says that when she really wants to convey what Reagan was like, she tells the "bathroom story."

It occurred in 1981, shortly after the assassination attempt. Reagan was still in the hospital and one night, feeling unwell, he got out of bed to go to the bathroom. "He slapped water on his face, and water slopped out of the sink," Noonan relates. "He got some paper towels and got down on the floor to clean it up. An aide came in and said: `Mr. President, what are you doing? We have people for that.' And Reagan said, oh, no, he was just cleaning up his mess, he didn't want a nurse to have to do it."

That was Reagan: On his say-so armies would march and fighter jets scramble, but he hated to trouble a hospital orderly to mop up his spill. That humbleness, it seems to me, is a mark of Reagan's greatness, too -- and a key to understanding the outpouring of affection his death has unleashed.

Though he came from nothing -- poor family, alcoholic father, no status, nothing to boast about -- Reagan considered himself no less entitled to respect and a chance to prove himself than those who had much more. But if no man was his better, neither was he the better of any man. That instinctive sense of the equality of all Americans never left him -- not even when he stood at the pinnacle of fame and power.

In reminiscences this week, former staffers have described what it was like to work for the president. Several have recalled how, even when they were at the bottom of the pecking order, he never made them feel small or unworthy of notice. To the contrary: He noticed them, talked to them, made them feel special.

Reagan climbed as high as anyone in our age can climb. But it wasn't ego or a craving for honor and status that drove him, and he never lost his empathy for ordinary Americans -- or his connection with them, as we now know from his private correspondence.

He was a lifelong letter writer -- perhaps the most prolific correspondent of any president since Jefferson. A collection of his letters was published last year ("Reagan: A Life in Letters"), and it is striking to see how many of them were written -- by hand, usually -- to angry or disappointed critics, many of them unimportant people he had never met. He is unfailingly polite and respectful; often he is touchingly earnest in his attempt to get them to see his side of an issue.

And why would the president of the United States devote so much time to answering mail from complete nobodies? In part because he never forgot his own modest roots. He was a genuinely humble man, one who didn't scorn others as "complete nobodies." For who knew better than he just how far a "nobody" from nowhere might someday go?

On June 3, 1984, Reagan visited Ballyporeen, the County Tipperary hamlet where his great-grandfather was born in 1828.

"Today I come back to you as a descendant of people who are buried here in paupers' graves," he said. "Perhaps this is God's way of reminding us that we must always treat every individual, no matter what his or her station in life, with dignity and respect. And who knows? Someday that person's child or grandchild might grow up to become the prime minister of Ireland -- or president of the United States."

In his first inaugural address, Reagan described George Washington as both "a monumental man" and "a man of humility." The two qualities merged in the nation's first president. They merged again in the 40th. May he rest in peace.

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The Salem News
Thursday, June 10, 2004

Most state workers have Friday off to honor Reagan
By Meredith Warren, Staff Writer


State agencies including the Registry of Motor Vehicles will shut down and 41,000 state workers will stay home tomorrow to honor former President Ronald Reagan, who died Saturday.

The day of mourning - announced by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney Tuesday - brings the number of days off for some Boston-area state workers to 14. They have next Thursday off for Bunker Hill Day.

The workers will be paid for the day, which means taxpayers will have to shell out about $8 million for employees who don't come to work, estimates Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer.

"Reagan was not a Massachusetts native, so one could argue that this wasn't necessary," he said. "But given the fact that he was a popular president, I think it's appropriate."

Widmer based his calculations on the number of state workers getting the day off, and figured the average salary and benefits of a state employee at $50,000.

Romney spokeswoman Shawn Feddeman said she didn't know the actual cost.

Some of the state workers will be required to work, including state police. They will get to bank the day and take one off another time, said Sgt. Paul Letsche, public affairs officer for Massachusetts State Police.

"It's just like any other holiday," Letsche said. "If we're scheduled to work that day, there's no extra pay. It's just another working day."

Only state agencies and executive branch departments have the day off tomorrow. The legislative branch of state government and state courts will be open.

Other states also declared Friday a holiday in honor of Reagan, including California, New York, Delaware and Texas. Federal offices and the U.S. stock markets will be closed Friday.

"It is appropriate to honor the memory of President Reagan, who was elected by the people of Massachusetts twice," Feddeman said. "Governor Romney believes it is appropriate to celebrate his life."

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The Telegram & Gazette
Friday, June 11, 2004

Some decry ruling for state holiday
Some in Mass. scoff at decision for state holiday
By Shaun Sutner, T&G Staff


While state and federal workers will take today off in honor of former President Reagan, not everyone is thrilled with the semi-closedown of government.

Even some conservatives for whom Mr. Reagan was a hero grumbled about shelling out an estimated $8 million to 41,000 Massachusetts state employees for another paid holiday.

Particularly galling to some is that Boston government workers also will stay home Thursday for Bunker Hill Day, and that they had another day off March 17 for the equally obscure Boston-only legal holiday of Evacuation Day.

"I don't understand why the federal or the state government is shut down," said Chip Ford, a spokesman for the Citizens for Limited Taxation. "I'm sure that Reagan, who wanted limited government, wouldn't have gone along with it.

"I don't see the point of it. Why is it any different for Massachusetts state employees than anyone else?" he added.

Actually, many other states have joined Massachusetts in following President Bush's lead by declaring today a national day of mourning and closing down state offices after he gave federal employees the day off.

And some private employers, including the New York and Boston stock markets, will be closed.

"We believe it is appropriate to set aside a day to honor the memory of President Ronald Reagan, who inspired our nation with his optimism and who believed in the greatness of the American people," said Shawn Feddeman, Gov. Mitt Romney's press secretary.

In Massachusetts, only the executive branch will be closed under Mr. Romney's directive. The Legislature will remain open, and all state courts will be operating today.

Secretary of State William F. Galvin has also decided to keep open several key offices under his direction, including the corporations division at the Statehouse and local registries of deeds.

The Democratic secretary of state, who refused to close his offices on Evacuation Day, has ordered a moment of silence for Mr. Reagan in all his divisions at noon today. Visitors to the Statehouse can also sign a book of condolences in the Statehouse's Doric Hall.

With Mr. Reagan the most recent Republican to carry this famously Democratic state in a presidential election, the "Gipper" still enjoys plenty of support in Massachusetts.

"A lot of people in Massachusetts have really always liked President Ronald Reagan," said Jane Lane, spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party. "A lot of people regardless of party affiliation had a high regard for him."

Worcester's election commissioner, Craig A.J. Manseau, considers himself one of the state's many "Reagan Democrats."

Mr. Manseau spent much of Wednesday night watching the televised pageantry of Mr. Reagan's lying in state in Washington, D.C.

"He brought great pride back to America," Mr. Manseau said. "He brought back pride in the red, white and blue."

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