To: Members of the Massachusetts House
April 27, 1999
Can you keep a promise?
The Massachusetts House passed a "temporary" income tax
rate increase in 1989 (see our full-page ad in today's Boston Herald). It's time to roll
back the income tax rate as promised.
Some of you were here in 1989 and voted against the tax increase.
Thank you, and please reiterate your support for the 5 percent rate now.
Some of you were here in 1989 and voted for the temporary tax
increase. It's time now to keep your promise that the rate increase would be temporary.
Some of you were elected after the 1989 vote. Taxpayers were assured
in 1989 that the temporary tax would be used to pay off the deficit bonds. That could not
happen until after another election, so obviously taxpayers needed to trust the
Legislature as a body to keep its word, no matter who was in office when the time came to
reduce the rate. It's time for you to keep the Legislature's word, to help polish its
We're glad Speaker Finneran supports a reduction in the income tax
rate. However, 5.95 percent to 5.75 is but a token cut. We taxpayers first paid the tax
increase retroactively for Tax Year 1989, and we just paid it for Tax Year 1998. We should
not have to pay it again for Tax Year 1999. The Legislature is long overdue in keeping its
word. The rate should be reduced immediately to 5 percent for the present tax year.
However, since we don't expect this to happen, our CLT bill drops the
rate to 5.6 percent for Tax Year 1999. If you must keep the promise one year at a time,
then 5.6 percent is the least you can do this year.
The state has another surplus this year. It has accumulated surpluses
from past years. The tobaccosettlement is on its way. The time to keep the Legislature's
promise is now.
We hope you will vote to amend the Speaker's proposal to lower the
rate to 5.6 percent in 1999, to 5.3 in 2000, and finally back to 5 percent in 2001.
Thank you for your attention.
"He was ever precise in promise-keeping." --
"I defy the boldest liar among travelers to say that he has
ever encountered a country or tribe where it is laudable to break one's word."
"Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to
keep your promise." -- Proverb
"But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I
sleep." -- Frost
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