CITIZENS   FOR  LIMITED  TAXATION
and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

CLT UPDATE
Thursday, November 6, 2008

Unions spent additional $2.248 million in latest report
Total so far reported to defeat Question 1:  $7,268,816



Beacon Hill leaders breathed a collective sigh of relief when voters rejected a ballot question Tuesday to abolish the state income tax, but that doesn't mean they went to work yesterday promoting plans to raise taxes.

The governor and several top lawmakers said the overwhelming defeat of the proposed tax repeal - 70 percent to 30 percent - signaled to them that state residents don't want total tax elimination. But they said they also recognize, from comments during debate over the measure, that the public expects government to operate more efficiently and not impose higher taxes....

"The results of Question 1 sent a loud and clear message to us that, number one, there is economic anxiety and frustration out there," said Senator Steven C. Panagiotakos, chairman of the Senate's Ways and Means Committee. "I see it as a mandate to live within our means."

Barbara Anderson, a veteran antitax advocate, scoffed at the notion that lawmakers would refrain from raising taxes or read a message of thrift from the results.

"The only message is that we, the voters, will put up with anything," said Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, which led the movement to pass Proposition 2˝ in 1980, to limit property taxes.

Anderson's group supported Question 1 this year but did not lead the movement, which was spearheaded by Carla Howell, a former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate. Citizens for Limited Taxation pushed successfully for a 2000 ballot question to gradually reduce the income tax from 5.85 percent to 5 percent, but legislators in 2002 halted that rollback at its current 5.3 percent, in the midst of a fiscal crisis.

"If they're telling anybody they learned some kind of lessons from a 70-30 vote, they're lying," Anderson said, pointing out that there were few challengers and no losses by legislative incumbents Tuesday.

The Boston Globe
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Hearing message from voters,
lawmakers spurn talk of a tax hike


We, the people, did everything but tape a “Kick Me” sign to our backsides on Tuesday. By voting 70 percent against taking our income tax dollars back from Beacon Hill, we all but begged them to stick it to us, right in the wallet. By giving the arrogant, unresponsive Democratic super majority three more House seats, we told Sal DiMoney to keep Beacon Hill open for underhanded business....

Now Gov. Deval Patrick and the Democrats know that you’re happy just the way things are. Which means you should expect more of the same.

After seeing overtaxed voters roll over like a puppy, why should any Massachusetts Democrat ever use the word “reform” in public?

“You want change? Go dig in your sofa,” will be the reaction. And why not? ...

There’s something almost pathetic about watching the masochistic masses of Massachusetts take this beating from their so-called public servants. One longs for some political version of the Guardian Angels to stop the massacre.

Because we clearly won’t. Massachusetts voters are so blindly partisan that nothing else matters. Break your promise of property tax relief, give millions in goodies to your corporate pals, drive up our tolls, raise our taxes - whatever you want. The only promise local pols must keep is to stay Democrats.

The Boston Herald
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Corrupt, inept Mass. never ready for change
By Michael Graham


They may not be registered as Republicans anymore, but more than a third of the state electorate still reliably votes for GOP candidates every two years.

So how come the Republicans can’t elect anybody anymore? ...

Before we get to a list of Tuesday’s disasters, let’s mention the party’s one minuscule bright spot. The GOP retained the office of Barnstable County Register of Probate. The retiring, 30-plus-year GOP register was succeeded by his assistant, Anastasia Welsh Perrino.

Welsh Perrino’s brother is a judge, and her father . . . well, you get the picture. But she may very well be the first Massachusetts politician to win an office (admittedly a very obscure one) running against her opponent’s pension....

“He’s in his 60s,” Perrino said on my show this week. “I’m only in my 40s. I’m not planning on collecting for a long time.”

There you have it - a winning issue for Massachusetts Republicans. Maybe their only one left.

Otherwise Tuesday was another complete disaster for the Mass. GOP - they lost three more seats being vacated by Republicans in the House. They’re down to 16 - 10 percent of the 160 seats.

The Boston Herald
Thursday, November 6, 2008
No one here but us moonbats
By Howie Carr


Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

As I predicted, the teachers unions alone contributed an additional $1,725,000 to the No on Question 1 committee in the most recent financial reporting period, bringing total new cash contributions received by the No committee over just the past two weeks to $2,122,565.  (The teachers unions also contributed in-kind $42,490.93.)

(See:  CLT Update - Oct. 22 - Can Question 1 be bought by greedy public employee unions? -- "And you can bet at least another million or two bucks will pour in from the teachers and other public employee unions between now and the next financial disclosure reporting period.")

The No on Question 1 committee's report was filed by yesterday's post-election deadline.  The $2,122,565 in total cash contributions reported received in the prior two weeks by the Coalition for Our Communities came almost exclusively from labor and public employee unions; with an additional $125,664.29 in "in-kind" contributions from them.

This brings the total campaign funds raised by the "No" committee to $6,623,313.22 cash; total in-kind contributions to $645,502.98 -- for total contributions to defeat repeal of the income tax of $7,268,816.20-and-still-counting.  There is another finance report due on November 20th.  I'm sure we'll see still more cash and in-kind contributions flowing into their coffers.

Over five million dollars of that total came from the teachers unions alone, both in and out of state.

Over Seven Million Union Dollars and counting to keep their union gravy train rolling smoothly on its track at our expense!

Money well invested, I'll predict.

Seven Million Union Dollars and counting made 70 percent of taxpaying voters blink first then bend over.

"Abandon hope, all ye who enter here."

With unlimited millions of dollars at their disposal, the public employee unions deceptively convinced voters that repeal of the income tax would directly translate into increased property taxes, and that taxpayers couldn't afford to pay higher property taxes.  Now that they've convinced taxpayers of this, how long will it be before the public employee unions are back looking for still more for themselves through increased property taxes and Proposition 2˝ overrides?  Let's hope both the insatiably greedy unions and intimidated taxpayers remember this public employee unions' position when that time comes.

Gov. Patrick promised "property tax relief" in place of rolling back the income tax to 5 percent when he was running for governor.  The income tax rate is still 5.3 percent.  How's that promised "property tax relief" going?  How long will we and the public employee unions agree that property taxes cannot go up . . . ?

Chip Ford


The Boston Globe
Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hearing message from voters,
lawmakers spurn talk of a tax hike
By Eric Moskowitz

Beacon Hill leaders breathed a collective sigh of relief when voters rejected a ballot question Tuesday to abolish the state income tax, but that doesn't mean they went to work yesterday promoting plans to raise taxes.

The governor and several top lawmakers said the overwhelming defeat of the proposed tax repeal - 70 percent to 30 percent - signaled to them that state residents don't want total tax elimination. But they said they also recognize, from comments during debate over the measure, that the public expects government to operate more efficiently and not impose higher taxes.

"I am more than relieved. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of voters," Governor Deval Patrick said at a news conference yesterday, thanking the state's residents for agreeing that "it was unwise to drive state government off a cliff."

In recent months, Question 1 was an elephant in the room at the State House, discouraging talk of increasing taxes or fees for fear of fueling antitax sentiment, political observers said. Meanwhile, Patrick and lawmakers have spent the last few weeks trying to close an estimated $1.4 billion deficit in the current fiscal year - through a mix of cuts, financial transfers, and other measures - and will soon dig into the fiscal 2010 budget as well.

Several said they heard repeatedly on the campaign trail from voters who were frustrated but nonetheless could not bring themselves to abolish the income tax, which generates about $12.5 billion a year and funds roughly 40 percent of the budget.

"The results of Question 1 sent a loud and clear message to us that, number one, there is economic anxiety and frustration out there," said Senator Steven C. Panagiotakos, chairman of the Senate's Ways and Means Committee. "I see it as a mandate to live within our means."

Barbara Anderson, a veteran antitax advocate, scoffed at the notion that lawmakers would refrain from raising taxes or read a message of thrift from the results.

"The only message is that we, the voters, will put up with anything," said Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, which led the movement to pass Proposition 2˝ in 1980, to limit property taxes.

Anderson's group supported Question 1 this year but did not lead the movement, which was spearheaded by Carla Howell, a former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate. Citizens for Limited Taxation pushed successfully for a 2000 ballot question to gradually reduce the income tax from 5.85 percent to 5 percent, but legislators in 2002 halted that rollback at its current 5.3 percent, in the midst of a fiscal crisis.

"If they're telling anybody they learned some kind of lessons from a 70-30 vote, they're lying," Anderson said, pointing out that there were few challengers and no losses by legislative incumbents Tuesday.

The House speaker and Senate president were unavailable for interviews about Question 1 and taxes.

"Raising taxes or fees would be a last resort and not something the Senate president is in favor of doing, especially in this economy," said David Falcone, spokesman for Senate President Therese Murray.

David Guarino, spokesman for Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, said in a statement: "Nothing has changed - there is no appetite for tax increases, period. Taxpayers are strained enough in these trying times. The speaker does not have any interest in adding to their burden."

Republicans were skeptical of such statements. Senator Richard R. Tisei, the minority leader, said Question 1 did stifle talk of new taxes.

"But I'm sure now that the question failed people will reexamine" a tax increase, Tisei said. He thinks lawmakers need to rein in spending and provide property tax relief, not find new ways to tax the public.

The question's failure had some immediate effects yesterday. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority had delayed the sale of bonds last month to pay for structural improvements, after financial advisers cautioned that uncertainty about the ballot question could cause the agency to find itself paying higher interest rates to attract investors.

Yesterday, the bond sale went forward. "We're selling them as we speak," said Jonathan Davis, deputy general manager and chief financial officer of the MBTA.

When Bernard Cohen, the state secretary of transportation, postponed a Turnpike Authority board meeting scheduled for last week, some speculated it was to delay talk of a toll increase until after the election. Cohen, who chairs the board, was unavailable yesterday; his spokesman said the postponement was unrelated to the income tax issue and the meeting's agenda has not yet been set.

Lawmakers from Boston's western suburbs have resisted a turnpike toll increase and instead called for tolls to be imposed on the Central Artery to stabilize state transportation budgets and pay off the Big Dig. Some are pushing for an increase in the state's gas tax - unchanged since 1990 at 23.5 cents per gallon.

Representative David Linsky, a Natick Democrat, supports a gas-tax increase of a few cents a gallon, along with cost-saving moves, such as more automated toll collection.

"I have great faith in Massachusetts voters that they would accept that," he said, citing Tuesday's vote.

But state officials yesterday talked mostly about having survived a scare.

Noah Bierman and Matt Viser of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


The Boston Herald
Thursday, November 6, 2008

Corrupt, inept Mass. never ready for change
By Michael Graham

If House Speaker Sal DiMasi treated a greyhound the way he treats the taxpayers, he’d be arrested by the Massachusetts SPCA.

If you had a doctor or lawyer who cost as much and did as little as state government, and you offered to pay him more money - he’d think you must be stoned.

And if the voters of any normal state spent the past six months watching the cavalcade of government corruption we’ve seen, they wouldn’t need a ballot question to take their tax money back. They’d leave the battered remains of fallen incumbents scattered across the State House grounds.

Welcome to Massachusetts, where we treat dogs and dopers better than we treat ourselves.

We, the people, did everything but tape a “Kick Me” sign to our backsides on Tuesday. By voting 70 percent against taking our income tax dollars back from Beacon Hill, we all but begged them to stick it to us, right in the wallet. By giving the arrogant, unresponsive Democratic super majority three more House seats, we told Sal DiMoney to keep Beacon Hill open for underhanded business.

The lead up to Tuesday’s election featured a veritable parade of poster children for Question 1: Disabled firefighters who are also competitive bodybuilders; legislators using campaign funds for Cape Cod vacation homes; police unions threatening innocent flagmen; illegal immigrants with government jobs or public housing. It’s been one long edition of “Your Tax Dollars in Jeopardy”: “I’ll take crumbling state roadways for $880,000 per mile, Alex.”

And how do Bay Staters respond? By electing more Democrats to waste still more of our money.

There was a time when, in the face of political tyranny, Bostonians grabbed their muskets. Today we simply whimper.

With only a handful of contested elections and DiMasi announcing in advance that the Legislature would ignore Question 1 if it did pass, this election was never going to change anything. But it could have sent a message to Beacon Hill that voters were at least a little grumpy about the shamelessness of the current waste and corruption.

Now Gov. Deval Patrick and the Democrats know that you’re happy just the way things are. Which means you should expect more of the same.

After seeing overtaxed voters roll over like a puppy, why should any Massachusetts Democrat ever use the word “reform” in public?

“You want change? Go dig in your sofa,” will be the reaction. And why not?

The question that lurks at the edge of every hack’s mind is “What happens if I get caught?” Well, Massachusetts Democrats have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar, campaign coffers and various state senatorial undergarments.

And how did we voters react? By giving them a bigger allowance and a pat on the head.

There’s something almost pathetic about watching the masochistic masses of Massachusetts take this beating from their so-called public servants. One longs for some political version of the Guardian Angels to stop the massacre.

Because we clearly won’t. Massachusetts voters are so blindly partisan that nothing else matters. Break your promise of property tax relief, give millions in goodies to your corporate pals, drive up our tolls, raise our taxes - whatever you want. The only promise local pols must keep is to stay Democrats.

That’s the one promise our herd of hacks will be happy to keep.


The Boston Herald
Thursday, November 6, 2008

No one here but us moonbats
By Howie Carr

They may not be registered as Republicans anymore, but more than a third of the state electorate still reliably votes for GOP candidates every two years.

So how come the Republicans can’t elect anybody anymore?

I have no idea what it was like to be a Federalist in 1814, or a Whig in 1856, but it had to be a lot like being a Republican in Massachusetts in 2008. Any day now they’re going to have a going-out-of-business sale. It will start right after the remaining Republicans in the state Senate, all five of them, finish their caucus - in a phone booth.

Before we get to a list of Tuesday’s disasters, let’s mention the party’s one minuscule bright spot. The GOP retained the office of Barnstable County Register of Probate. The retiring, 30-plus-year GOP register was succeeded by his assistant, Anastasia Welsh Perrino.

Welsh Perrino’s brother is a judge, and her father . . . well, you get the picture. But she may very well be the first Massachusetts politician to win an office (admittedly a very obscure one) running against her opponent’s pension.

Her Democrat foe was Rep. Eric Turkington of Falmouth, age 61, with 20 years in, looking to up his state salary from $58,000 or so to $110,000. Six years down the road, it would have meant an extra 40 large in his annual pension. Plus, Turkington had another reason for running, as he said in an interview. He wanted to shorten his commute. Damn, that trip to Boston every day was putting a lot of miles on his car.

“He’s in his 60s,” Perrino said on my show this week. “I’m only in my 40s. I’m not planning on collecting for a long time.”

There you have it - a winning issue for Massachusetts Republicans. Maybe their only one left.

Otherwise Tuesday was another complete disaster for the Mass. GOP - they lost three more seats being vacated by Republicans in the House. They’re down to 16 - 10 percent of the 160 seats.

In the Holliston-Hopkinton House district - a Turnpike area - Muffy Healey’s ex-chief of staff lost to a moonbat who said high tolls are good public policy. She repeatedly came out in favor of tolling her own would-be constituents, and they’re so dense they elect her.

Unbelievable. But consider the Acton-Boxboro-Shirley-Lunenburg district. They elected a Democratic woman who said in a debate that the Supreme Court passed the amendment giving women the right to vote. She said it twice. She got 56 percent of the vote in a district that was reliably Republican just 20 years ago.

What a fiasco. If I were a Republican instead of unenrolled, here are the only two words I would say to Peter Torkildsen.

You’re fired!


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