For Immediate Release
May 12, 2008
Contact Barbara Anderson
Members of the General Court
May 12, 2008
When the Legislature "froze" the voters’ income tax rollback
in 2002, it said it would defrost it slowly when the
revenues reached a certain point. We taxpayer cynics did not
believe this for a minute. We had heard these promises
In his first administration, Governor Dukakis created a
"temporary" income tax surtax. Ten years later, CLT put its
repeal on the ballot, and the Legislature quickly repealed
it before the voters could do it themselves.
In his second administration, Governor Dukakis, after
running for President on the "Massachusetts Miracle,"
returned from the campaign trail to demand the Legislature
pass a billion dollar tax increase. Angry legislative
Democrats who had been misled about state revenues revolted,
and joined with Republicans in refusing to pass the tax
hike. In the end, most Democrats gave in, but only when they
could assure their even angrier constituents that the income
tax rate increase would be "temporary."
After waiting eleven years for this promise to be kept, CLT
put a question on the ballot, phasing down the rate from
5.85 percent to its traditional 5 percent over three years.
The question passed 59-41 percent. But in 2002, the
Legislature froze the rate at 5.3 percent with the promise
to let it happen sometime in the future. Not believing it
this time, voters almost passed Carla Howell’s repeal of the
income tax that November.
Six years later, the rate is still 5.3 percent. But this
year the "trigger" to "defrost" the freeze was reached, and
to our surprise, so far the Legislature has not moved to
stop this first step in its promised decrease, allowing the
rate to drop to 5.25 percent now.
It’s a tiny step for taxpayers, who should have been paying
at 5 percent since 2003, but a bigger step for the
Legislature – finally keeping a "temporary" income tax
I hope this memo isn’t premature, and that you do intend to
allow the rate decrease to happen; I’ll apply my $18 to my
property tax since Governor Patrick hasn’t kept his campaign
promise for property tax relief (and thank you for not
confusing a meals tax hike with property tax relief).
But I must note that the state actually owes me roughly $500
from the income tax rollback that voters passed in 2000.
Since state revenues are $1.2 billion higher than last year,
you could take a giant step and really surprise everyone by
finally keeping that 1989 legislative promise and doing what
the voters demanded in 2000. Thank you for your