CLT Memo to Members of the House
Sunday, April 23, 2017

No more tax hikes: Just keep your promise


To:   Members of the House of Representatives;

More taxes in the proposed budget? Let’s inject some perspective.

Since the $12 billion FY1990 budget annual state spending has more than tripled to a proposed $40.3 billion. Adjusted for inflation, that’s still a spending increase of $17 billion.

During that period the “temporary, 18-month” income tax hike of 1989 still lingers despite that long-broken promise and the voters’ subsequent mandate sixteen years ago, the sales tax was increased by 25%, the gas tax has been hiked twice, and a multitude of other revenue-raising gimmicks have been steadily imposed.

Amendments #879 by Reps. Lombardo, O’Connell, Kuros, and Diehl, and #869 by Reps. Lyons, O’Connell, and Lombardo, propose to finally roll back the income tax rate to 5%. The Legislature promised to do this 28 years ago when it initially hiked the tax "temporarily," then again in 2002 when it overturned the voters' 2000 ballot mandate to roll the tax back to 5% by 2003, and instead "froze" it "temporarily" until your imposed "economic triggers" were met. After almost three decades, keeping that promise is much overdue.

Long-abused taxpayers and voters say "better late than never," thus we strongly support the amendments to roll back both the income tax rate and the sales tax rate to 5 percent. It’s a step in the right direction.

Incredibly, Rep. Denise Provost wants to break those promises yet again by halting the income tax rollback at 5.1 percent (Amendment #42). Apparently she follows a long-established Democrat tradition of making false promises only to break them later.

In 1994 the last graduated income tax scheme was comfortably defeated for the fifth time by voters; in 2000 the voters strongly mandated a rollback of the “temporary” income tax hike to 5%; in 2014 the voters repealed the automatic gas tax increase. Voters have shouted “Stop — enough is enough!” for those who will only listen.

Taxpayers and voters recognize that we are already taxed not only enough, but more than enough.

Too many in the Legislature have an insatiable spending problem, an addiction that needs to find treatment before bringing on disaster. Any fiscal problem in Massachusetts government is not caused by insufficient revenue.

The escalating problem is freewheeling, unconstrained, irresponsible spending by the Legislature. The recent abrupt $18 million pay grab is but one symptom of such over-indulgence at taxpayers’ expense.

When an (inflation adjusted) increase of $17 billion in annual spending since 1990 is still not enough it proves that diagnosis.

We pray those with it can kick the problem, but recovery first requires recognizing it.

“Just say no” to any new taxes. That’s the first step toward breaking dependency.

Thank you for your consideration.


Citizens for Limited Taxation    PO Box 1147    Marblehead, MA 01945    508-915-3665