Memo to the Massachusetts Senate
May 20, 2005
Re: Senate Budget
We hope that the Senate has more respect for the voters than the House
showed in its FY’06 budget, which ignores the mandate to rollback the
income tax rate to its traditional 5 percent. Though to be fair, the
House did not have the advantage of having seen the extraordinary April
revenues. As growth continues to be strong, and this year’s surplus
grows also, perhaps even the House will recognize that the 2000 mandate
of the voters should be honored now.
It has been sixteen years since the Legislature passed a “temporary”
income tax rate increase (see 1989 quotes on the back). During the
strong revenue years of the 1990’s, with their annual budget surpluses,
legislators refused to honor the Legislature’s promise that the rate
would be restored to 5 percent. Finally, in November 2000, voters passed
the income tax rollback by 59-41 percent.
In early 2002, having spent itself into another fiscal crisis – the
state budget doubled since the “temporary” tax passed in 1989 – the
Legislature “froze” the rate at 5.3 percent, insisting that voters
hadn’t realized in 2000 how much the extra money was needed. But in
November 2002, 45 percent of voters tried to repeal the income tax
Massachusetts faces many challenges as the economy changes, as the
population ages. These challenges can be met only if there is respect
and trust between the government and its constituents. The state can
begin by keeping its word on the “temporary” income tax hike.
Citizens for Limited Taxation, which collected signatures and campaigned
for the 2000 rollback, has filed a bill to restore the rate for the
present tax year. However, we support Governor Romney’s proposal to
restore the rate for tax year 2006. We hope you will support an
amendment to honor the voters’ rollback, and incorporate that language
in your final budget.
Thank you for your consideration.
Please turn over and read the back side . . .
"Was it a Promise or
Wasn't it? You decide!"
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