CLT’s Associate Director Francis "Chip"
Faulkner submitted testimony at two overlapping State House
hearings yesterday. Because he had not yet been called at
the Revenue Committee hearing on Governor Patrick’s new taxes,
he left testimony with the committee with information about the
Massachusetts tax burden and CLT’s opposition to any new taxes
including local option taxes.
We are gratified that our position reflects that of Speaker
DiMasi; that this is the year to give cities and towns more
management tools in the pension and health insurance areas.
Faulkner testified at the Judiciary Committee hearing, focusing
on CLT opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment that
would change the legislative vote requirement on initiative
petitions for constitutional amendments. He told the
committee that other states which have the initiative amendment
process do not give the legislature any input at all; in
California, Colorado and other initiative states, proponents of
an amendment go directly to the ballot after collecting
In Massachusetts, proponents must first collect signatures then
get at least 50 votes in the Joint Constitutional Convention two
sessions in a row. If the requirement was a majority,
there would be no advantage to petitioners for having collected
thousands of signatures: If they had the support of a
majority of the Legislature, they could just file a legislative
amendment with no additional effort at all. The clear
intent of the founders of our constitutional amendment process
was to provide for some legislative input but give the advantage
to the citizens who worked hard for ballot access.
When asked by the committee about other proposals to change the
initiative petition process, Faulkner said that CLT thinks the
initiative petition process should be left alone.
Rep. Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) testified in favor of the
constitutional amendment he filed for CLT, to clearly define the
eminent domain process as one that cannot be used for private
gain or any reason but clearly essential public use.