Chip Ford's CLT Commentary
A most serious threat to Proposition 2˝ and democracy
itself in Massachusetts has again just come to our attention. We
fended it off last year, but then we had Gov. Romney as the state's
chief executive with his power of the veto pen. The Legislature
needed a two-thirds vote to override. We may not be so lucky any
"An Act Relative to Special Development Districts,"
House Bill #159, will likely soon come up for a vote in the state
Legislature. Not only will it circumvent Prop 2˝ -- it will create
an entire new level of government; of, by, and for the developers,
giving them the independent power to tax. To tax, not subject to
the restraints of Proposition 2˝.
The length of this bill --twenty-nine (29) pages --
exceeds the Declaration of Independence, challenges even the length of
the U.S. Constitution! The first five (5) pages merely lay out the
"definition" of terms used throughout the remainder of the proposal.
As you know, CLT often aligns itself with groups and
organizations from across the political spectrum when our causes are in
sync. This was recently brought to our attention by the
Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities. We've been
researching it since.
According to MCHC: "Chapter 40T would allow
unelected panels hand-picked by developers to assume the powers of a
municipal government, taxing without regard for Proposition 2˝ and
substituting panel votes for those of the voters themselves."
Last year, we fended off a similar proposal.
(See CLT's Memo to the Legislature, and News Release, Jul. 19, 2006:
Stimulus Bill: Governor’s Veto of Section 41")
This year on June 11 the Joint Committee on
Community Development and Small Business quietly held a hearing on H-159
then issued a favorable report -- sent it on to Joint Committee on
Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets. There it awaits
release to the House floor later this month, soon, for a final vote.
After reviewing the document, I don't expect any if
many legislators have read it or can possibly understand its legalese
ramifications. You'll have a leg up on them when you contact their
offices! And that's what you need to do, right now.
Call and tell your state rep and senator to vote it
down, vote no on H-159, kill it.
-- Find my state representative and state senator --
To circumvent Proposition 2˝ an entirely new taxing
authority -- on top of all the others -- is being proposed.
50- The infrastructure assessments established by the assessing
51 - party shall not be subject to supervision or regulation by any
52- department, division, commission, board, bureau, or agency of
53- commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions, including
54- without limitation, the municipality, if it is not the assessing
55- nor shall the assessing party be subject to the provisions of
56- 20A and 21C of chapter 59.
Sections 20A and 21C of chapter 59 is the very heart of
We can't let this happen on our watch. It's
easier to stop a bad law than get rid of one later. Now is the
time to act.
From the MCHC website:
"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the
people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it
becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its
essence, is Fascism."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1938
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