– MEMO --
Joint Committee on Election Laws
Citizens for Limited Taxation, which has used
volunteers to collected hundreds of thousands of signatures over
the last 30 years to put several tax measures on the ballot.
June 3, 2009
H.572 are silly attempts to kill the initiative petition
process in Massachusetts.
Initiative and Referendum process has been used in Massachusetts
by people from all sides of the political spectrum for almost a
century. These three bills would make it more difficult and
costly for such individuals to collect signatures for a
statewide ballot measure.
obstacles are already daunting enough: The short time period,
cold and rainy weather, the “stray marks” decision by the SJC,
and other burdens make the use of I & R an onerous task at best.
Let’s make it clear why these bills were submitted: The
Legislature with few exceptions, hates the fact that citizens
can circumvent it by collecting signatures to put issues on the
ballot. But the reason groups across the political spectrum use
the petition process is because the Legislature failed to
address their concerns.
Rapidly escalating property taxes in the 1970's and legislative
inaction led to the passage of Proposition 2˝ on the 1980
ballot. You may not know that the signature collection on
Proposition 2˝ only made it by a few hundred signatures. If
these intrusive bills had been in effect in 1979 the petition
drive would probably have failed. The result would have been
property taxes at least double what they are now and special
interests still screaming that homeowners aren’t paying enough.
could get into other problems with these three bills such as
legal challenges, suppression of free speech, and enforcement
mechanisms. Are you sure the average citizen would rather see
police spending their time hunting down petitioners without a
sticker than deal with gangs, speeders and armed robbers?
urge you to vote to preserve the people’s initiative petition
process and vote “NO” on these three bills.