and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Thursday, July 21, 2005

We actually won one!

Barbara Anderson's CLT Commentary

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 bill.

Barbara Anderson

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