CITIZENS   FOR  LIMITED  TAXATION  &  GOVERNMENT
and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

 

CLT Update
Thursday, February 7, 2002

"Fiscal Nightmare" Express on taxes fast track


COUNTER-ATTACK

Joan Vennochi nonsensically holds Florida as a role model for Massachusetts because its governor, Jeb Bush, is delaying a tax cut with the consent of its proponents, Florida TaxWatch ("Sense and nonsense on cutting taxes," op ed, Jan 24)....

The Boston Globe
Feb. 4, 2002
Barbara's letter to the editor:
Florida isn't a role model


RENEWED ATTACK

As a gubernatorial candidate, Weld backed a silly tax-cutting ballot initiative promoted by Barbara Anderson's Citizens for Limited Taxation and the Massachusetts High Technology Council....

Raising taxes in 1989 and 1990 was the fiscally responsible thing to do....

The Boston Globe
Feb. 7, 2002
Needed: fiscal responsibility
By Joan Vennochi


House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran - citing a "colossal collapse" of state revenues - threw open the door to tax hikes yesterday, sparking Republican warnings of a new era of "Taxachusetts."

The speaker told acting Gov. Jane M. Swift and a packed House chamber that the economic crisis has worsened so severely that lawmakers can't keep handing out tax cuts without consequences....

Over the next few weeks, House members will debate a variety of tax hike proposals, aimed at partially filling a $2 billion shortfall in next year's budget, Finneran said.

The Boston Herald
Feb. 7, 2002
Tom talks tax hike


The budget balancing options [House Ways and Means Committee Chairman John] Rogers proposes include delaying the income tax cut approved in 2000; increasing other taxes and fees; cutting more in spending than Swift proposed; and allowing cities and towns to raise more revenue than Prop. 2 now permits.

State House News Service
Feb. 4, 2002
House chief to towns: Prepare for 10 percent cut in local aid


Given the timing of the municipal budget process, local officials must be warned immediately that local aid in the final budget for FY03 may be cut by as much as 10 percent from FY02 levels....

In fact, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation announced today that the administration's budget includes a "long list of risky, dubious, or unwise assumptions which total well more than $1 billion."...

Excerpt from
"Dear Colleagues and Municipal Officials" letter
from House Ways & Means Chairman John Rogers
Feb 4, 2002


"I could do a better job than the Taxpayers Foundation with my hand-held pocket calculator," said Barbara Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

A CLT BLAST FROM THE PAST - 1991
The Boston Herald
Jul. 31, 1991
Tax group's $ forecast is hardly a sure bet


[Town of Dudley] Board members had a short but lively discussion before voting on whether to stand with the town of Framingham in its decision to urge the state Legislature to freeze the rollback of the state income tax and utilize the excess income as direct revenue to the cities and towns of the Commonwealth. Selectman John C. Zajkowski said he felt the people had asked for the tax rollback "that we should have had years ago. The people want this. I'm not going to sign this."

In the final vote, Selectmen Dorothy A. Mann and Brian K. Germain also opposed the proposal, with Anthony B. Didonato Sr. supporting it.

Excerpts from
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Feb. 5, 2002 
Dudley votes ... 


House Speaker Tom Finneran gave his annual "state of the state" address yesterday, and of course tax increases will be necessary according to His Lordship.

Legislative leaders are first threatening local aid cuts of 10 percent in the coming budget, then urging municipal officials to unite in support of "freezing" the income tax rollback ... or else, I presume.

Most local officials opposed the rollback all along anyway, so this is akin to rallying TEAM, the Human Services Coalition, the teachers union, and the rest of the Gimme Lobby to support a "freeze" of the rollback they've opposed for more than a decade.

Dudley Selectman John C. Zajkowski was able to stave off his town's call for "freezing" the rollback, and deserves praise for standing up for the voters -- but this is happening right now in every municipality across the commonwealth.

A new twist has been added to the mix, though. They are now threatening even to weaken Proposition 2 and the limited protection if affords property owners as the tax hikes feeding frenzy hits fever pitch and settles into its more, more, more stride.

The pols have declared all-out war on every aspect of tax limitation. Nothing is off-limits in the climate they've inflicted, nothing.

You must immediately and closely monitor your local city and town governments: they're all gearing up to kill the rollback and gut Prop 2 as they rev up the "Fiscal Nightmare" [Rep. John Roger's creative term] Express.

We can't allow them to crash through the barricade of even minimal tax limitation that has taken decades to construct.

Chip Ford


The Boston Globe
Monday, February 4, 2002

Letters to the Editor
Florida isn't a role model

Joan Vennochi nonsensically holds Florida as a role model for Massachusetts because its governor, Jeb Bush, is delaying a tax cut with the consent of its proponents, Florida TaxWatch ("Sense and nonsense on cutting taxes," op ed, Jan 24).

Bush, unlike Acting Governor Jane Swift, did not take the "no new taxes" pledge, and Florida TaxWatch is not a "people" taxpayer group, but the equivalent of the business-backed Mass. Taxpayers Foundation. The tax cut it has agreed to delay is an investment tax cut, and was not an initiative petition passed by the voters.

Florida doesn't even have a state income tax. Its total tax burden, per capita, is 39th in the nation, compared to Massachusetts's ranking of 5th. Despite this, Florida foolishly increased spending 86 percent between 1990-2000, even more than we did. Bush is also cutting education. Still want to use Florida as a role model?

Barbara Anderson
Executive Director
Citizens for Limited Taxation

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The Boston Globe
Thursday, February 7, 2002

Needed: fiscal responsibility
By Joan Vennochi

Would a real, live grown-up please stand up and take charge of this Commonwealth? ...

Like it or not, some forced political courage was displayed during the fiscal crisis of 1989 and 1990. Michael S. Dukakis was governor, George Keverian was speaker of the House, and William M. Bulger was Senate president.

Under these Democrats, the state committed money to the kinds of social programs liberals believe in and conservatives abhor. As it turned out, it was too big a commitment. When the banking and real estate industries collapsed, state revenue plummeted, too. There wasn't enough money to support the political agenda that helped propel Dukakis to become the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. He lost his bid to be president and returned to a state in economic free fall.

It wasn't easy, but Dukakis ultimately took responsibility. He, Keverian, and Bulger fought the grim fiscal reality and one another. In the end, they raised taxes, saving the the state from bankruptcy and the new Republican governor, William F. Weld, from himself.

As a gubernatorial candidate, Weld backed a silly tax-cutting ballot initiative promoted by Barbara Anderson's Citizens for Limited Taxation and the Massachusetts High Technology Council. The voters knew it went too far and overwhelmingly rejected it. In doing so, they - together with the state's political leaders - saved Weld from the serious fiscal situation now faced by Acting Governor Jane Swift.

Raising taxes in 1989 and 1990 was the fiscally responsible thing to do....

Swift makes it clear she will stand behind the income tax rollback that voters endorsed in 2000, even though it, too, goes too far. She has little choice. Her party is obviously abandoning her. Her only hope for reelection lies with the knee-jerk instincts of voters who embrace the words "tax cut," even if it amounts to only enough money to buy a pizza a month....

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The Boston Herald
Thursday, February 7, 2002

Tom talks tax hike
by Elisabeth J. Beardsley

House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran - citing a "colossal collapse" of state revenues - threw open the door to tax hikes yesterday, sparking Republican warnings of a new era of "Taxachusetts."

The speaker told acting Gov. Jane M. Swift and a packed House chamber that the economic crisis has worsened so severely that lawmakers can't keep handing out tax cuts without consequences.

"The circumstances are so dire, the situation is so extreme, that I don't think anybody can afford to stand pat in one particular place," Finneran said, following his sixth annual "address to the citizens."

Over the next few weeks, House members will debate a variety of tax hike proposals, aimed at partially filling a $2 billion shortfall in next year's budget, Finneran said.

A growing number of lawmakers are clamoring to freeze the final $450 million phase of the voter-approved income tax cut, as well as hike the cigarette tax and roll back a charitable giving tax credit.

The income tax cut - with the biggest pot of money at stake - is attracting the most attention.

While House and Senate leaders claim a majority would support freezing the tax cut, it's not clear whether two-thirds would vote to override Swift's promised veto - especially in an intense election year....

Noting that Finneran's speech praised lawmakers for creating a business-friendly environment that allowed Fidelity Investment to employ 14,000 highly paid workers, Swift accused the speaker of threatening such jobs by reviving the state's "Taxachusetts" moniker.

"We don't (want to) increase the cost to families and businesses who are struggling, and destroy the very kinds of jobs that (Finneran) admired at Fidelity," Swift said....

House Minority Leader Francis Marini (R-Hanson) noted that Swift tried to veto about $270 million out of the budget just passed in December, but the Democratic majority restored most of those cuts.

"The majority has shown an inability to make any kind of cuts whatsoever in any kind of spending," Marini said. "If you read (Finneran's) budgets, he's a tax-and-spend Democrat."...

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State House News Service
Monday, February 4, 2002

House chief to towns:
Prepare for 10 percent cut in local aid

Cities and towns should prepare for a 10 percent local aid cut, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman John Rogers told his colleagues in a letter delivered Monday.

Rogers says Acting Gov. Jane Swift's budget is so far out of balance that cities and towns should ignore the "cherry sheets" being prepared by the Department of Revenue. The House will debate the fiscal 2003 budget in May, following a debate on state tax policies.

He says the House should consider a variety of options to close a gap between revenues and expenditures he estimates at $2.3 billion in the coming fiscal year.... The gap, he says, exists in part because the Swift administration is overestimating revenues for next year by between $800 million and $1.1 billion. The administration is so off the mark in its revenue estimates and bottom line, Rogers says, that municipal planners should ignore the cherry sheet data to be distributed later this month.

The cherry sheets, so called because they are printed on pink paper, detail how much cities and towns can expect in state aid in the coming fiscal year.

The budget balancing options Rogers proposes include delaying the income tax cut approved in 2000; increasing other taxes and fees; cutting more in spending than Swift proposed; and allowing cities and towns to raise more revenue than Prop. 2 now permits.

Rogers tells members that he can't say for sure yet that a 10 percent cut in local aid is coming, but that it would be wise to assume so during "a dreadful period that demands prudence, resolve, candor and compassion." Local aid is a primary source of funding for education and public safety services.

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A CLT BLAST FROM THE PAST
- 1991 -

The Boston Herald
Wednesday, July 31, 1991

Political Watch
Tax group's $ forecast is hardly a sure bet

By Eric Fehrnstrom

A lot of faith has been put in the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation's $9,232 billion estimate of fiscal 1992 revenues, well above the official $8.3 billion forecast.

The Taxpayers Foundation's estimate was used by liberal legislators and advocates for the poor to call for the restoration of spending cuts before the ink was even dry on the $12.9 billion budget.

But the foundation's track record on revenue estimating is about the same as all others -- poor.

"None of us can exactly put a feather in our cap," said Suzanne Tompkins, the foundation's vice president.

For instance, the foundation originally forecast $9.856 billion in tax revenues for fiscal 1991, and actual collections were $8.994 billion.

And at the start of fiscal 1990, the foundation forecast $9.433 billion in revenues, and actual collections turned out to be $8.536 billion that year.

"I could do a better job than the Taxpayers Foundation with my hand-held pocket calculator," said Barbara Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

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