Thursday, December 8, 2005
CLT Celebrates Win for Governor, Taxpayers
Citizens for Limited Taxation celebrates at least
one taxpayer victory this year, as Governor Romney signs the Romney-Creem
compromise on the capital gains issue today.
CLT has been fighting to return the income tax rate to its historic 5%
for sixteen years. But we were the first group to argue, when the
Peterson case was decided last spring, that the money shouldn’t come
from innocent taxpayers with a retroactive capital gains tax! Not only
was this tax unfair, it would have sent a message to investors
everywhere that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had lost its
The two issues are connected from birth in the Bay State. The income
tax rollback freeze and the capital gains tax hike were part of the
same tax package in 2002. We opposed that package, even to running
radio ads in support of sustaining acting Governor Swift’s veto.
CLT also opposed the other taxes in the 2002 package, and has filed a
bill to repeal the outrageous nursing home tax which is as unfair as
the retroactive capital gains tax, albeit on a smaller scale. We hope
Governor Romney will also support its repeal as part of the coming
health care reform bill.
Let us gratuitously note that the so-called Massachusetts Taxpayers
Foundation was supporting a further hike in the income tax rate at
that time. So if by any chance Michael Widmer shows up at the
Governor’s news conference today, remember that he praised the
original package and was, according to news clips, reluctant to attack
the retroactive capital gains tax this year as well – until recently.
Do you suppose he heard from some of his big-business backers?
According to The Boston Globe on Dec. 2, "Michael Widmer . . .
said his group has "received more e-mails on this than on any subject
since I came to the foundation, 15 years ago."
But according to
The Boston Globe on just Jun. 11, 2005:
Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a
business-backed watchdog group, agreed that rolling the effective date
of the capital gains rate change to Jan. 1, 2002, was "unfair." He
said that Romney's plan, however, would do damage to the fiscal health
of the state and that the money would have to come from reserve
Widmer added that he has strong doubts Democratic leaders in the House
and Senate have any intention or desire to go in the same direction as
Romney in response to the SJC ruling.
"There's talk of [higher funding for] early childhood education,
higher education fund restoration, and healthcare coverage expansion,"
Widmer said. "There's enormous pressure and a lot of important needs
to be addressed."
Barbara Anderson, executive director of the antitax group Citizens for
Limited Taxation, saw it differently.
"Massachusetts voters don't elect Republican governors to get things
done: We choose them to defend ourselves against things being done to
us!" Anderson said yesterday in an e-mail. "This cap gains issue is a
perfect example of that."