A PROMISE TO KEEP: 5%
A Ballot Committee of
Citizens for Limited Taxation & Government
PO Box 408 * Peabody, MA 01960
Phone:(617) 248-0022 * E-Mail:
cltg@cltg.org
Visit our web-page at:
http://cltg.org
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*** Promise Update ***
Saturday, January 24, 1998

Greetings folks:

"More Taxes Always" (MTA) and "Tax Everything And More" (TEAM) set out attacking over 4,000 of our petition signatures, and—after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of its members’ confiscated dues—are able to bump only 437 of them, and they call that a "victory"?

Think about just the math, and never mind the time: Even if they spent *only* $100,000 for this debacle to obstruct democracy (and we estimate that—with the cost of three law firms, more than 200 hours for a hand-writing expert who charges $150/hour, the cost of serving subpoenas and witness fees to the hundreds of clerks and voters across the state, hiring a couple dozen workers, etc.—the cost was closer to $400,000, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt) -- that’s $228.83 per signature that they frivolously spent.

Spending Other People’s Money comes easy to these creatures!

"Easy come, easy go," is their battlecry. And they desperately want to keep that "temporary" income tax hike for themselves— keep it out of our hands so *they* can "decide the right level of the tax cut or appropriate services"! (See TEAM director Jim St. George’s comments below.)

Boy, it’s scary to realize that it’s these very same teachers—who let their union, The Massachusetts Teachers Association, lead them around by their noses, squander their money so liberally, and pull out the stops to prevent them from also benefitting from our rollback of the "temporary" tax— are the very same people who are allegedly teaching our children!

If these pathetic teachers are such an incredibly mindless flock of sheep with limitless deep-pockets, remember it the next time they come with their hands out looking for a pay raise. Just tell them that obviously they don’t really need it -- their union said so. A new Proposition 2 override defense tool has been handed to us by none other than the MTA!

Chip Ford—
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The Boston Globe
Metro Section
Saturday, January 24, 1998

Tax cut petition fails initial test;
Both sides claim victory as contest shifts to Superior Court
By Frank Phillips
Globe Staff

In a decision that will move the battle into the courts, the state’s ballot law commission ruled yesterday that a petition to cut the state income tax by $1.2 billion did not have enough qualified signatures to appear on the November ballot.

But tax cut leader Barbara Anderson said the commission’s decision to knock off only 437 signatures of some 4,000 that were under challenge is a "major victory" for the drive to place the tax issue before the voters.

Anderson said she and her supporters will take the issue to Superior Court, where she feels confident they can restore to the petition hundreds of voter signatures that cities and town clerks failed to certify.

"We are golden," said Anderson, executive director of the Citizens for Limited Taxation & Government. "We are on our way to Superior Court. We are on our way to the 1998 ballot. This is great."

But opponents of the tax cut were equally optimistic that they can win their case in court.

"We are extremely confident, given this ruling," said Jim St. George, executive director of the Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts, which worked with the state’s largest teachers’ union against the ballot question.

St. George said his coalition will present the courts with about 2,400 signatures it believes are provably invalid. Under Anderson’s own calculations, her group has about 1,500 signatures it can add to the petitions and it is expecting to find several hundred more.

The ballot law commission made its decision after two weeks of hearings at which opponents, led by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, challenged the certified signatures Anderson and the petitioners had presented last fall to Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s office.

The petition needs 64,928 certified signatures to appear on the ballot. Under the ballot law decision yesterday, it is officially 355 short.

The fate of the tax cut petition will shape tax cut debate on Beacon Hill. Acting Governor Paul Cellucci is pushing for the income tax reduction and needs the ballot petition to hold a club over the Democratic leadership to push the reduction through the House and Senate.

From the opponents’ point of view, knocking the petition off the ballot will take the pressure off the Legislature and allow its members to consider various options for the bulging state surplus.

"If it is off the ballot, the Legislature can respond in a more responsible way to the healthy economy," St. George said. "They don’t have to look over their shoulders at this ballot question. They can decide the right level of the tax cut or appropriate services."

Anderson and her group have used the ballot petition process to drive much of the fiscal debate in Massachusetts since 1980, when the tax cut movement won voter approval for the Proposition 2 limit on property tax increases.

But the tax-cutting advocates’ struggle this year to get on the ballot may mark a shift in the state’s political balance. Anderson attributes the tough going in the petition drive to circulation of a term limits petition that drained volunteers and resources.

But others, mostly Democrats, say most of the steam has been taken out of the tax cut movement, particularly after former governor William F. Weld and the Legislature cut more than 20 taxes in the last seven years. They say voters are more concerned with other costs, such as insurance and utility rates.

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