Initial legislative sponsors for bills # 1, 2 and 3 are Senator Scott Brown (R-Wrentham) and Rep. Richard Ross (R-Wrentham), and for # 4, Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and Rep. Brad Jones (R-North Reading).
1. Proposition 2Ĺ elections
Title: AN ACT LIMITING PROPOSITION 2Ĺ OVERRIDE ELECTIONS AND ALLOWING AN UNDERRIDE IN ALL COMMUNITIES
Theme: "What part of NO donít they understand"?
Summary: This proposed bill would allow only one Proposition 2Ĺ override in a twelve month period. The intent is to prevent local officials, who have just lost an override vote, from putting it back on another ballot right away, until they get their desired result. But it also applies to new subjects of overrides and debt exclusions. After 25 years, local officials should be organized enough to plan ahead and know what they want to ask for, once a year.
The Underride is presently available to cities and some towns that have a referendum provision in their charters.
The CLT bill gives an underride provision to all communities. This would also be limited to once a year, unless the community puts an override on a ballot within the 12 months following an underride vote; then citizens can put another underride on the same ballot.
2. Income tax rollback, redux
Title: AN ACT RESTORING THE 5% INCOME TAX RATE
Theme: What part of "voter mandate" donít they understand?
Summary: The bill preamble states the reason we are doing this; the bill immediately takes the rate to 5% for Tax Year 2005. By the time the Legislature gets around to passing it, this would be a retroactive tax cut, affecting half of the present fiscal year Ď05. But the Legislature was asked by Governor Romney to support it last spring during the FYí05 budget debate; if the Senate had taken it up and the Legislature had adopted it then, there would be no concern now about retroactivity. Note too that we are no longer doing "rollback"; we are immediately restoring the traditional 5% rate. It has now been sixteen years since the "temporary" rate increase passed, and over four years since the voters mandated its repeal.
3. Repeal of nursing home tax
Title: AN ACT REPEALING THE NURSING HOME TAX
Theme: Itís not a fee unless you get something extra for paying it.
Summary: The nursing home tax was passed in 2002 as part of the biggest tax hike in state history. The law says that nursing homes must pay a "fee" to the state for each non-Medicaid patient, to bring in $145 million a year. But the nursing homes pass it on to patients who are self-payers, thereby forcing these non-Medicaid patients to pay even more of their own savings. Yet they get no services for the "fee" that the Medicaid patient in the next bed doesnít get, so it is not a true user fee (under the state Supreme Judicial Courtís ruling in Emerson vs. City of Boston, 1984). The CLT bill repeals the tax.
4. Removal of "incumbent" designation, and change of "unenrolled" to "independent"
Theme: Equality under the law for challengers.
Title: AN ACT REMOVING UNFAIR INCUMBENT ADVANTAGE FROM STATE BALLOT DESIGNATIONS AND CHANGING "UNENROLLED" TO "INDEPENDENT"
This bill is filed by Avi Nelson, who notes that it is unfair to give incumbents
advantage against challengers. It removes the words "candidate for re-election" and the placement first on the ballot of incumbents, requiring a random placement. It does not affect veteran designation.
It also allows candidates who are neither Republican nor Democrat to run as "independent," not unenrolled.
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