CLT Memo to the Joint Committee on
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
It’s Time to Roll Back the Sales Tax Hike
To: Members of the
Joint Committee on Revenue
July 18, 2016
did not meet “expectations” and state spending had to be reduced in the
midst of the budget crisis. The Boston Globe reported:
“State revenues took yet another plunge last month, ending the
financial year $180 million below even the dourest projections and
forcing leaders to choose between draining the state’s reserve
account and making further cuts in a budget approved just last
“’June is the final exclamation point on this unbelievably bad
year,’ said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts
Taxpayers Foundation, a business-funded government watchdog. ‘This
is the worst year-to-year tax drop . . . in more than 50 years.
not referring to current and recent events. We are recalling 2009 and
the Legislature’s passage of the second-largest tax increase in state
history, more than $1 billion in additional revenue necessary to fund
the FY 2010 state budget — of $27 billion.
adjusted for inflation ($30.5 billion) that $27 billion budget, with its
billion-dollar tax increase, contained $10 BILLION less spending
than the one just passed by this Legislature — 25 percent less.
largest part of that 2009 tax increase was hiking the sales tax by 25%
to 6.25 percent, estimated back then to generate some $700-$900 million
of additional revenue.
On May 20,
2009 a Boston Herald editorial (“Truth about taxes”) accurately
“Ten years from now, the economic gods willing, Massachusetts will
have recovered from this recession/depression. But even if the
economy is going gangbusters in 2019 you can bet we will still be
paying that extra 1.25 percentage point on most every consumer good
“But the sales tax won’t come back to 5 percent, not once lawmakers
become addicted to the new revenue. Voters who OK’d the income tax
rollback know this to be true....
“Taxpayers understand that desperate times sometimes call for
desperate measures. But they also know that, once on board, Beacon
Hill will never willingly step off the gravy train.”
predictions are hardly difficult in Massachusetts, where taxpayers are
still waiting for the “temporary” income tax hike of 1989
to be fully rolled back to 5 percent, twenty-eight years after
the Legislature made that false promise.
cynicism in Massachusetts is deeply rooted and well-earned, fertilized
by the Legislature with regularity.
your opportunity to change that perception, at least chip away at it.
It is a chance to show your taxpaying constituents that they too
matter, that they also have unmet needs of their own which
concern you as well.
Billion Dollars in annual revenue — and spending — later, it is time to
return the sales tax to 5 percent, time for a little relief for
annual study of overall fiscal conditions in all fifty states was
released last week by George Mason University's Mercatus Center. It put
Massachusetts third from the bottom, behind only Illinois and New
Jersey, in fiscal management. Investor's Business Daily summed up the
study in its report last week:
"The bottom line is that the more money the state government takes
from taxpayers, the worse it handles it.
"This should serve as a flashing warning to any state that thinks it
can tax its way out of its fiscal problems."
you to support H.1578 and S.1650 — roll back the sales tax to 5 percent.
Citizens for Limited Taxation ▪ PO
Box 1147 ▪ Marblehead, MA 01945