I know this looks different, Chip is taking some
vacation days, and CLT activist John MacMillan, God bless him, has
offered to send any update out to you while Chip is gone. We are a small
and specialized staff and I have no idea how to do what they do.
I couldn't wait to tell you -- we actually won one! The Election Laws
Committee is not going forward with the bill to kill the initiative
petition process. It didn't get to the Senate floor yesterday for a
vote, and we were told that it will stay in third reading until the fall
-- when we expect it will continue to languish, since it will be too
late to damage the fall petition drives.
As we publicly charged, the intent of the bill was to just make it
harder for "defense of marriage" folks to get their signatures: I
suspect some proponents had no idea what they were getting into. After
we sounded the alarm, petition advocates from left to right were
objecting -- even John Businger, the liberal former state rep from
Brookline, came out of political retirement to argue against restoring
the jurat, which he had removed when he was House Election Laws chairman
in 1985. We are also grateful to Secretary of State Bill Galvin for his
strong opposition. Thanks to everyone who called their legislators, and
those groups who have been organizing their own members.
Carla Howell e-mailed her support, and said she was surprised to see the
ACLU in favor of the bill. You too might also be interested to know that
libertarian-leaning American Civil Liberties Union leaders, like Harvey
Silverglate, are no longer setting the agenda; Norma Shapiro, formerly
of the League of Women Voters, is the ACLU legislative lobbyist. The
League is also in favor of the bill. Almost everyone else in the state
is opposed, as legislators now know.
So take a moment to congratulate yourselves and celebrate.
If you read today's Boston Herald editorial, you'll see that, yes, the
new income tax rollback (when local aid reaches certain levels) that
passed the Senate last week is getting qualified support from some
supporters, and others, like Governor Romney and CLT, are calling it a
ploy to avoid actually rolling the rate back to 5 percent. Proof of this
is that the so-called Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation supports this
version. There was no rollcall on the long-delayed rollback, the vote
was unanimous; but Chip Faulkner got the rollcalls on the initial
attempts to do it faster.
On reducing the rate from 5.3 to 5 percent -- Yeas 6, Nays 32. The six
were 5 Republicans -- Lees, Brown, Hedlund, Knapik and Tarr, and
Democrat Timilty. Republican Tisei and all the other Democrats voted No.
The Senate President didn't vote, and one seat is vacant. On the phased
in reduction over three years, with no strings attached: 13 Yeas, 25
Nays. The 13 were the six Republicans and Democrats Baddour, Buoniconti,
Joyce, Montigny, Moore, Timilty, and Tucker. We're getting closer!
The same bill that now contains the delayed rollback and the corporate
loopholes bill, also contains the retroactive capitals gains tax, which
we oppose and hope the Governor can remove. However, we don't care if
the delayed rollback passes; it can't hurt. We will make our pitch for
faster action at the September 27th hearing on our immediate rollback