and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

October 18, 2005

The Supplemental Budget and the Tax Rollback

To:  Members of the General Court
         October 18, 2005
Re:  Supplemental Budget

Last week, when a debate on the income tax rollback was ruled out of order by the chair, we were told that it would be allowed in the supplemental budget. As Rep. Scaccia said:

"Pull back some and let that take place when we have a supplementary budget. That is the true document to take up taxes...."

And here it is! Time to keep a commitment to have a debate with its roll call vote, on an income tax rollback that was promised by the Legislature in 1989, passed by the voters in 2000, and "temporarily" frozen in 2003.

"Broken promises" has been the issue, more than taxes. But now we point out that your constituents can really use the money for fuel costs this winter. It’s no longer "a pizza a week," as our opponents like to argue, but another degree of warmth on the thermostat as cold and flu season approach.

Every tax is a pay cut. Many of us in the private sector are having a hard time keeping up with the Massachusetts cost of living. You cut our pay when you froze the rollback. Now as you consider pay hikes for people who make much more than the statewide average, and get much better pensions than our threatened Social Security, remember those of us who pay for it all. Please reduce our income tax rate as promised.

Legislators got away with raising taxes in 2003. This winter, when many of your constituents are colder in their homes than comfortable, they may start comparing fuel bills to tax bills and see one reason for their discomfort – you.

We hope the leadership – which is your responsibility, Democrats – will allow a debate with pro-rollback Republicans on the voter-mandated tax cut. And we further hope you will vote to at last keep the promise and restore the income tax rate immediately to 5 percent.

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