CITIZENS   FOR  LIMITED  TAXATION
and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

CLT UPDATE
Friday, March 11, 2005

Legislators fail to file taxes while AG stumps for tax "freeze"


It's all spend but no tax these days for six state lawmakers who revenue officials say failed to file income tax returns while voting to spend billions of dollars paid by others....

"I take full responsibility for this error. I am working with my accountant to rectify this mistake," [Rep. David] Linsky said. "I expect that I will receive a refund for over-paid taxes and the matter will be put to rest." The rep wouldn't say why he missed two consecutive deadlines.

"I never had to pay taxes (when filing), I always had the most deductions taken," [Rep. Colleen M. Garry] said. "I don't mind loaning the Commonwealth money in tough times." Filing is mandatory for all taxpayers except those who earn less than $8,000, or work and live out of state.

The Boston Herald
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Six House reps fail to file income tax returns


"I don't mind loaning the commonwealth money in tough times," said Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut), who failed to file for 2002 and 2003, and voted to block the income tax cut to 5 percent (as did three other filing scofflaws). Glibness, arrogance and hypocrisy are quite the combination, eh?

A Boston Herald editorial
Friday, March 11, 2005
Demotion for delinquents


Drawing a sharp distinction with Governor Mitt Romney, Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly said yesterday that he opposes an income tax rollback because the state cannot afford to lose millions of dollars in revenue....

"We need leadership ... that is candid about the fiscal condition of this state -- we're not back, we're not back by any stretch of the imagination," Reilly, a likely candidate for governor in 2006, said in a speech to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation....

Romney argues that the Legislature should heed the voters' approval of the 2000 ballot question, pushed by then-governor Paul Cellucci, that authorized the gradual tax rollback.

At the time, the income tax rate was 5.85 percent. In 2002, faced with a severe fiscal crisis, legislators froze that tax cut at 5.3 percent.

Aides to Romney said yesterday that economic recovery had boosted tax receipts enough to allow for the tax cut.

"Of all people you would think the attorney general would follow the law," said Eric Fehrnstrom, chief spokesman for Romney. "The citizens of Massachusetts overwhelmingly voted to lower the income tax to 5 percent."

"Last year we had a $700 million surplus," Fehrnstrom said. "This year we'll have another big surplus. Governor Romney believes it's time to honor the will of the voters."

The Boston Globe
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Too soon for tax cut, says Reilly
AG speaks against Romney's plan


Attorney General Tom Reilly's opposition to cutting the income tax in keeping with the voters' 2000 mandate is as ill-informed as it is ill-timed....

The secret to winning the governorship won't be found in any party rulebook. May we suggest Reilly and company take a closer look at taxpayers' checkbooks?

A Boston Herald editorial
Friday, March 11, 2005
Party rules not the answer


Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

More evidence of how much at least some legislators feel above their taxpaying serfs was exposed yesterday by the Boston Herald; legislators who didn't bother filing income tax returns. Even after being repeatedly caught red-handed failing to file, one House member again didn't comply like the rest of us must.

Speaking of CLT's voluntary tax check-off upon its passage in the House, multiple-offender Rep. Byron Rushing said, 'I always vote for tax increases Republicans propose.'" [The Boston Herald, May 1, 2001, House approves bill offering taxpayers option to dig deeper] That he always votes for Democrat tax increases as well goes without saying. He may have voted for our voluntary check-off, but I doubt he's ever availed himself of it on his tax return, when he files one, and paid the higher rate.

All the reported scofflaw legislators are Democrats, most with legendary tax-and-spend reputations. But they apparently feel above the need to file their own tax returns, as everyone else in the commonwealth is required to do by law.

When referring to rolling back the income tax to its historic 5 percent rate -- and apparently to filing his tax returns as well -- Rep. Linksy said, "That's a choice ... we don't want to make," and he didn't. When he proposed "freezing" the voters' tax rollback and voted for it, he stated, "I was absolutely convinced that this had to be done." He obviously wasn't "absolutely convinced" he has to file his taxes as the common taxpayer must.

When also opposing a rollback of the "temporary" income tax rate, Rep. Garry too may have had her failure to file in mind when she announced, "There's only so much money to go around." Don't we know it, not that it's ever made any difference to her when it's coming out of our pockets.

Below are more examples of hypocrisy.


"I don't relish raising taxes," said state Rep. David Linsky, a Natick Democrat who co-sponsored the tax package, "but I was absolutely convinced that this had to be done."

The MetroWest Daily News, May 3, 2002, House hikes rates, freezes tax rollback


Rolling back the state's income tax rate won't save Bay State residents much, and ultimately will force cities and towns to make tough budget choices in the form of layoffs or tax overrides.

That was the message delivered by MetroWest Democrats in a rare joint appearance yesterday morning.

"The reality is (Gov.) Mitt Romney wants to raise local property taxes," said Natick Rep. David Linsky.

Under the state budget, Linsky explained, part of the money raised through the state income tax is returned to cities and towns in the form of local and education aid.

If the rate is rolled back, he predicted that pool of money will shrink, forcing local officials to either find a way to do more with less, or ask voters to approve a Proposition 2 override.

"That's a choice ... we don't want to make," he said.

The MetroWest Daily News, Oct. 2, 2004, Democrats blast Romney tax policy


Cities and towns should be allowed to hike excise tax rates in order to help them weather potentially deep cuts in state aid, a panel of state lawmakers said yesterday.

Raising the excise tax by $5 for every $1,000 of a vehicle's value could generate up to $130 million in new revenue for cash-strapped communities, according to a report prepared by members of a House "working group" on local aid....

"This isn't one of my favorite taxes, but there are a couple good things about it," said one member of the working group, state Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick. "It's deductible on your federal taxes, and, two, it goes directly to cities and towns."

The MetroWest Daily News, Mar. 21, 2002, Excise taxes eyed in crunch


For Dracut state Rep. Colleen Garry, deciding whether to apply the 5 percent sales tax to beer, wine and liquor purchased from Massachusetts package stores isn't a tough choice. Not when, as planned, the resulting $55 million will be used to treat addiction....

Garry and other Democrats on Beacon Hill are behind what is becoming a serious effort to lift the sales tax exemption on alcohol.

State House News Service, May 22, 2001,
Alcohol tax hike pitched as way to boost programs that help addicts


Area legislators teamed up for the first time yesterday in bashing a proposal to decrease the state's income tax rate....

"There's only so much money to go around," said Rep. Colleen Garry, D-Dracut. "The state can only fill the gap for so long."

The Lowell Sun, Mar. 24, 2000, Local reps opposing cut in state income tax


I guess we should all be thankful to state reps Cory Atkins of Concord, Geoffrey Hall of Westford, Bill Greene of Billerica, Carol Cleven of Chelmsford, Colleen Garry of Dracut and Lowell's Tom Golden, David Nangle and Kevin Murphy. With diehard ingenuity, they helped solve the state's spending crisis. They voted to raise taxes.

The Lowell Sun, May 15, 2002
Let's have another drum roll, please, for our state reps, by Jim Campanini


Assumed to be running for governor, Attorney General Tom Reilly has made our decision for the next one too easy. He has declared that he opposes rolling back the "temporary" income tax. By 2006 it will be seventeen years "temporary" but still "at this time" -- and you know there will never be a good time -- he refuses to honor the promise or respect the voters' overwhelming decision over four years ago. Just what we need in Massachusetts: even further arrogance in power.

But you can bet his audience erupted in applause -- after all, the so-called Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has fought to keep the income tax rate as high as possible on average taxpayers. MTF has never met a tax it didn't like and promote -- unless it was aimed at its fat-cat big-business members.

Chip Ford


The Boston Herald
Thursday, March 10, 2005

Six House reps fail to file income tax returns
By David R. Guarino


It's all spend but no tax these days for six state lawmakers who revenue officials say failed to file income tax returns while voting to spend billions of dollars paid by others.

The delinquent pols, all Democratic members of the House, include Rep. Byron Rushing (D-South End), a top lieutenant to Speaker Sal DiMasi, and Rep. David Linsky (D-Framingham), a former prosecutor eying a run for Middlesex district attorney.

They were joined on the Department of Revenue non-filing list by fellow lawmakers Colleen M. Garry (D-Dracut), chairwoman of the Personnel and Administration Committee; Rep. Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer), Rep. Sean Curran (D-Springfield), and Rep. Matthew Patrick (D-Falmouth).

The DOR list, obtained under a public records request by the Herald, also included freshman Rep. Patrick M. Natale (D-Woburn). But Natale said he wasn't working at the time and didn't have to file.

Another lawmaker, Rep. Benjamin Swan (D-Springfield), filed his 2003 return just last week after questioning by a reporter.

Linsky and Garry admitted to not filing in 2002 and 2003.

"I take full responsibility for this error. I am working with my accountant to rectify this mistake," Linsky said. "I expect that I will receive a refund for over-paid taxes and the matter will be put to rest." The rep wouldn't say why he missed two consecutive deadlines.

Garry said she didn't file because she cannot find paperwork involving the sale of a home the lawmaker jointly owned with her parents. She said she opted to delay rather than file an incorrect return.

The lawmaker said she's never owed the state money anyway.

"I never had to pay taxes (when filing), I always had the most deductions taken," she said. "I don't mind loaning the Commonwealth money in tough times." Filing is mandatory for all taxpayers except those who earn less than $8,000, or work and live out of state.

This isn't the first time Rushing made the DOR non-filer list. He apologized in 1997 for failing to file returns for the six prior years.

The new second assistant majority leader said he doesn't know why he is listed. Rushing wouldn't say the DOR is wrong.

"It just doesn't make sense - I'm sure I did file," he said. Asked if there was a tax professional who could confirm that he filed, Rushing said, "That's the problem, I do my own taxes. I've got to stop that."

Patrick doubted the DOR, offering his 2003 return, showing he filed on Aug. 2, 2004. "As far as I know, everything went in on time," he said.

DOR spokesman Tim Connolly said the agency has nothing from Patrick. The other lawmakers, Curren and Gobi, did not return calls and e-mails.

Six current state representatives are listed by the Department of Revenue as having failed to file state income tax returns for recent years.

Didn't file for 2002:

Rep. Byron Rushing, second assistant majority leader 12th-term Democrat from the South End. Rushing previously apologized for failing to file for the years 1990 to 1995.

Didn't file for 2002 and 2003:

Rep. David P. Linsky, 4th term Democrat from Framingham, former prosecutor openly discussing a run for Middlesex district attorney.

Rep. Colleen M. Garry, 6th term Democrat from Dracut, chairwoman of the Personnel and Administration Committee.

Rep. Anne M. Gobi, 3rd-term Democrat from Spencer

Didn't file for 2003:

Rep. Matthew Patrick, 3rd-term Democrat from Falmouth

Didn't file for 2000:

Rep. Sean Curran, freshman Democrat from Springfield

Source: Massachusetts Department of Revenue

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The Boston Herald
Friday, March 11, 2005

A Boston Herald editorial
Demotion for delinquents


The Herald report that six Beacon Hill lawmakers didn't file state income tax returns is indicative of exactly the kind of arrogance and hypocrisy which House Speaker Sal DiMasi ought to make clear won't be tolerated on his watch.

"I don't mind loaning the commonwealth money in tough times," said Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut), who failed to file for 2002 and 2003, and voted to block the income tax cut to 5 percent (as did three other filing scofflaws). Glibness, arrogance and hypocrisy are quite the combination, eh?

Garry's argument that her failure to file is harmless because she hasn't owed taxes before shouldn't sit well with the hoi polloi pouring over their returns for filing by April 15, whether said commoners owe money or not.

Another member of DiMasi's leadership team, Rep. Byron Rushing (D-South End), is repeating a pattern of arrogance revealed in 1997, when he apologized for failing to file in the previous six years.

Their delinquency, along with that of Rep. David Linsky, Rep. Anne Gobi, Rep. Sean Curran and Rep. Matthew Patrick is an embarrassment to DiMasi and the entire Legislature. We wonder what, if anything, the new speaker will do about it.

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The Boston Globe
Thursday, March 10, 2005

Too soon for tax cut, says Reilly
AG speaks against Romney's plan
By Janette Neuwahl, Globe Correspondent


Drawing a sharp distinction with Governor Mitt Romney, Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly said yesterday that he opposes an income tax rollback because the state cannot afford to lose millions of dollars in revenue.

"We need leadership ... that is candid about the fiscal condition of this state -- we're not back, we're not back by any stretch of the imagination," Reilly, a likely candidate for governor in 2006, said in a speech to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

"A tax cut at this time would not be prudent because we would be shortchanging our future. It would be a shortsighted way of looking at something and we would be harming the people coming behind us."

In his budget proposal, Romney called for returning the state's income tax rate from its current 5.3 percent to 5 percent.

Reilly said the state can't afford to lose the $225 million that an income tax rollback would cost the state in 2006. In 2007, the state projects a $450 million loss from the 0.3 percent rollback.

Romney argues that the Legislature should heed the voters' approval of the 2000 ballot question, pushed by then-governor Paul Cellucci, that authorized the gradual tax rollback.

At the time, the income tax rate was 5.85 percent. In 2002, faced with a severe fiscal crisis, legislators froze that tax cut at 5.3 percent.

Aides to Romney said yesterday that economic recovery had boosted tax receipts enough to allow for the tax cut.

"Of all people you would think the attorney general would follow the law," said Eric Fehrnstrom, chief spokesman for Romney. "The citizens of Massachusetts overwhelmingly voted to lower the income tax to 5 percent."

"Last year we had a $700 million surplus," Fehrnstrom said. "This year we'll have another big surplus. Governor Romney believes it's time to honor the will of the voters."

Reilly is the early front-runner for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. At times, yesterday's speech bordered on a campaign stump, with Reilly leveling accusations that the state lacks the leadership to address several problems facing Massachusetts. Indeed, Reilly's assertion that "we're not back" seemed to be a direct response to Romney, who has insisted that the economy is increasing state revenues.

"We're a great state, but we're an expensive state to live in," Reilly said. "There are difficult financial challenges ahead of us so in the foreseeable future, in the next few years, and right now we cannot afford to be rolling back taxes."

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The Boston Herald
Friday, March 11, 2005

A Boston Herald editorial
Party rules not the answer


OK, so now that Democratic kingmakers have convinced their activist brethren that a key to ending their 16-year hiatus from the Corner Office is squeezing as much life as they can out of the political process, what's their next move?

We didn't miss the irony that in the same week former Gov. Mike Dukakis et al pushed through a party rules change that candidates receive 15 percent of the convention vote on the first ballot or they're out, the presumptive Democratic front-runner handed the GOP a big fat advantage.

Attorney General Tom Reilly's opposition to cutting the income tax in keeping with the voters' 2000 mandate is as ill-informed as it is ill-timed.

And it's a shame that party leaders are trying to discourage the kind of vigorous primary campaign which help candidates, as much as voters, hone in on sound positions.

The secret to winning the governorship won't be found in any party rulebook. May we suggest Reilly and company take a closer look at taxpayers' checkbooks?

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