A Ballot Committee of Citizens for Limited Taxation

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her syndicated columns appear weekly in the Salem Evening News and the Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in other newspapers.

September 3, 2000

Workers deserve a break -- an income tax break
By Barbara Anderson

Labor Day is the perfect day not to labor, but to appreciate what a great summer this was, and start thinking about the fall.

There is never any point in complaining about the weather. I'm glad that we didn't see much evidence of global warming here in eastern Massachusetts; with the price of oil and natural gas, we can only hope it shows up in time for winter.

A hot summer, however, would have been hard on those who live in glass houses and couldn't use air-conditioning because it hurts Mother Nature. If the more radical environmentalists get their wish and replace power plants with windmills, we'd better hope that future winters are mild as well.

And won't it be great when those giant windmills dot the horizon, blowing pollen from meadow and forest into city and town?

Yes, I'm protesting Mother Nature this weekend. Every time I open a window, her darn pollutants cover my windowsills and infiltrate my home. The trouble with the suburbs is, there's still too much green space, and green makes me sneeze. Maybe someone would like to build a power plant in my back yard where that patch of ragweed keeps growing, and provide me with cheap electricity for my air-conditioning and HEPA health aides.

Also want to take a moment to thank the drug companies who keep coming up with new allergy medication. The next time Al Gore attacks you, make him cure his next illness with leeches and snake serum; the critters will feel right at home in his presence.

This time of year, I pay a small fortune for Allegra-D and stay inside as much as possible, in a house through which, fortunately, the chi is now flowing freely. I spent my summer weekends moving furniture, painting walls, and repositioning my wind chimes.

I have overcome the negativity of having bathroom drains in "the area of Fortunate Blessings" by adding tree energy and a small fountain. This is bad news for the opponents of Question 4 because the fortunate blessing I want is the income tax rollback's passage on the November ballot.

Here is something to ponder on Labor Day: why do so many union leaders fight an across-the-board tax cut for their members? After all, when you think about it, a tax cut is a pay raise, and union leaders always want those. Yet there they are on the list compiled by the anti-rollback committee: the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, the Massachusetts Teachers and Police Unions, the Central Mass. Postal Workers Union, even the Massachusetts Nurses Association, whose members certainly work hard enough for their paychecks to deserve a break.

So do the good teachers who don't need seniority and other union rules to hold a job; the policemen who protect what's left in our wallets after taxes and fuel bills; the postal employees to whom we handed petition packets on Friday afternoon that were in petitioners' hands across the state the next day!

Support for good public employees does not mean accepting high taxes that support high levels of waste, governmental mismanagement, and union insistence on everyone getting the same pay based on longevity despite varied levels of competence. It doesn't mean support for no-show political jobs, legislative slush funds, or broken promises about "temporary" taxes.

Support means appreciation when a job is well done, and a willingness to pay enough taxes to be fair as long as those levying them don't take advantage of our good will. Union workers should let their leaders know that they work hard for the money, and the government should treat them right. Instead of the state hoarding its surpluses, or the Legislature impulsively spending them in late-session feeding frenzies, all of us laborers should be getting a tax rollback pay raise next year.

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