Sen. Jason Lewis
Rep. Alice Peisch
Sen. Michael Rodrigues
Rep. Paul Tucker
Sen. Patrick O'Connor
Rep. Kim Ferguson
amendment to potentially circumvent Proposition 2½ by "mitigating the
constraints" of the law was included in the Senate version (S-2350) of
its education finance reform bill and was adopted (Amendment #27; Roll
Call Vote #102).
following House version the "mitigating the constraints" proposal was
eliminated. A subsequent similar amendment was withdrawn (Amendment #2
to H-4137): "An analysis of the impact of Proposition 2½ on the ability
of municipalities to make their required contributions in the short-term
and long-term and recommendations to mitigate the constraints of
Eric Lesser, an advocate of this amendment, expressed his concern for
when and if the statutory limits of Proposition 2½ are reached. He
erroneously asserted, as justification to circumvent the law: "What
happens is you hit the ceiling, you can't raise property taxes any more
and there are no other ways to collect income often in these relatively
simply wrong. Proposition 2½ has always provided a solution for this
situation: Operational and Debt Exclusion overrides.
Proposition 2½ was designed to empower local taxpayers to determine any
and all additional property tax increases imposed upon themselves and
their neighbors beyond the statutory limit, instead of having them
unilaterally imposed by elected officials.
majority of municipal voters — taxpayers willing to bear the additional
burden — can be convinced that the purpose for a tax increase is worthy
then overrides are voted upon and passed. If they cannot be so
convinced, then overrides fail. Both results have been experienced
across the commonwealth countless times over the decades.
Proposition 2½ has been proved over almost four decades to work as it
was designed. It was never anticipated when Proposition 2½ was drafted
that overrides would occur but for some unexpected exigency, though they
have become far more common in practice over the ensuing decades.
"Mitigation" of the so-called "constraints" needs no study or change.
"Mitigation of constraints" is and always has been a part of the very
law this amendment seeks to one day circumvent.
Eric Lesser recently acknowledged that "dealing with this in this
[education] bill is probably beyond the scope of this bill."
for Limited Taxation — which crafted, campaigned for, and won passage of
Proposition 2½ on the 1980 ballot — and, we expect, most property
taxpayers across the state are in agreement. Even if it were necessary,
which it is not, it does not belong in a must-pass education finance
you and the conference committee to leave out of your final
recommendation this subtle effort to circumvent the voters' Proposition
you for your consideration on this matter.
Citizens for Limited Taxation ▪ PO
Box 1147 ▪ Marblehead, MA 01945
▪ (781) 639-9709