and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Thursday, January 26, 2006

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again

One statewide taxpayer group, four Republican governors with their lieutenant governors, a series of Republican state legislators not counting Sen. Richard Tisei, and 1,541,771 voters have tried to keep the Legislature’s 1989 promise that the income tax rate increase would be “temporary.”

We have managed to get the temporary rate hike down from 5.75% to 5.3% over sixteen years. In his new budget, Governor Romney assumes a 5.15% rate for tax year 2007, and states his intent that the rate will finally reach 5% in 2008.

With last year’s official state surplus of $1.654 billion, this year’s half billion surplus (so far), a record amount in the “rainy day” fund, and plans to increase state spending by another billion-plus, it’s time to have completed the rollback yesterday. However, the Legislature has refused to keep its most recent, 2002 promise that the rollback would resume rolling when the latest fiscal crisis was over. So the governor has offered a compromise.

CLT recognizes the reality of the Legislature’s unwillingness to keep its word and eagerness to keep our money. So we support the governor’s compromise and hope this issue will soon be behind us as the income tax rate is restored to its traditional 5 percent.

We note that opponents use the excuse of increasing property taxes to resist the rollback. CLT, having created Proposition 2½, takes second place to none in its dislike of the property tax, and notes that most rollback opponents, most notably the so-called Mass. Taxpayers Foundation (MTF) and Mass. Municipal Association, didn’t and don’t like Prop 2½ either. What they like is more government taxing and spending, period.

Imagine a taxpayer foundation, so-called, that considers a tax cut to be government spending! Yet MTF keeps referring to the state’s inability to “afford” to let us keep more of our own money – as if the state somehow earned it and owns it, and we have to justify keeping some!

We support more local aid, since our goal is getting education off the property tax altogether. We wish there were some way to assure that the education aid goes to improved education and “the children.” But since both our state and local taxes are used for pay-raises and extraordinary benefits for the teachers unions, we think we should get our own pay-raise by way of an income tax cut, ASAP.

– 30 –

Return to CLT Updates page

Return to CLT home page