and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Memo to the Senate
H. 4534 Senior Override Abatement bill

To:  Members of the Massachusetts Senate
        March 4, 2008
Re:  H. 4534 Senior Override Abatement bill

What you may not know or remember about Proposition 2
and its friend the Massachusetts Senate

Long-time Senators may recall the early legislative battles on the Prop 2 issues; newer Senators may find this interesting.

When Prop 2 was passed by the voters, 59-41 in November 1980, one Senator filed a bill to repeal it. The Senate as a whole did not move forward with this bill.

Before 1981, there was very little sharing of state revenues with the cities and towns. CLT and MMA were lobbying for the state to share in the first year implementation of the new law by finally giving the long-promised local aid. There was resistance from the House leadership, but House Republicans and many conservative Democrats almost passed the substitute "Better Budget," with $350 million in new local aid.

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Ways & Means Chairman Chester Atkins was quietly drafting the new Senate budget, which did contain that local aid. The Senate passed it, the House concurred, and Proposition 2 was properly launched.

Many bills were filed during the 80s to amend it and CLT supported the reasonable amendments. Few of the damaging amendments passed; some that did pass the House were stopped in the Senate. Later, a bill exempting seniors from overrides passed the House but not the Senate. We hope this will happen again with H. 4534, which is intended to get more overrides passed, raising property taxes on working families, homeowners with giant mortgages, and under-65s on fixed incomes.


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