I. Some Massachusetts citizens smoked, coughed, went on
Medicaid. Massachusetts taxpayers coughed up tax dollars that went to Medicaid payments.
The Commonwealth, using taxpayer dollars, sued the tobacco companies
for the Medicaid costs incurred by Massachusetts for smoke-related illnesses.
A settlement was reached and the tobacco companies agreed to pay the
Commonwealth $7.6 billion over 25 years. The taxpayers should get back the tax
dollars they paid for Medicaid-funded treatment of smoke-related illnesses. We are the
aggrieved party here. We are like an assault victim who pays his medical bills, pays his
lawyer to sue the perpetrator, wins a court settlement, then learns that the settlement
money will be used to provide self-defense lessons for whoever wants them. Anything
else is a bait-and-switch scam.
II. The Massachusetts Legislature increased the state
income tax rate in 1989 to address a fiscal crisis; we taxpayers were told the increase
would be temporary.
The deficit bonds have been paid off and the "temporary"
5.95 percent income tax rate has been causing monumental surpluses.
Governor Cellucci wants to phase-out the "temporary" income
tax rate increase that is causing the surpluses.
Senator Birmingham is accusing Governor Cellucci of using the tobacco
damages settlement with the taxpayers to fund his income tax rate cut.
What, besides cigarettes, has Senator Birmingham been smoking?
Citizens for Limited Taxation has filed a bill to rollback the income
tax rate to 5 percent by 2001. A promise was made and a promise should be kept; with the
budget going up a billion dollars a year and another giant surplus expected, there is no
excuse for not rolling back the rate.
We have also filed a bill to reimburse the taxpayers of the
Commonwealth for the money they spent on Medicaid payments and the Attorney General's
lawsuit. The reimbursement money belongs to the taxpayers and should be returned to us in
proportion to the amount we paid, with an additional income tax cut.