and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

H. 2341 -- latest attempt to raise property taxes

To:  Members of the General Court
         July 18, 2006
Re:  H. 2341, latest attempt to raise property taxes

The Legislature has made it clear that it will not roll back the income tax rate to its traditional 5%, no matter what the voters said. One excuse you use is that property taxes are too high.

So now the House Ways & Means Committee supports a bill to raise property taxes.
Citizens for Limited Taxation takes second place to no one in its concern for senior citizens facing unaffordable property taxes. When we created Proposition 2½ over twenty-five years ago, we were especially aware of the relief it would provide seniors and others on fixed incomes.

But some communities are are passing overrides without regard to lower- or fixed-income people, of all ages, who cannot afford them. When we created an override provision, we anticipated that it would be used for emergencies and unusual circumstances, not for operating budgets year after year. We did not envision local officials giving their unions extraordinary pension and health insurance benefits that would become “fixed costs,” paid for by taxpayers with high fixed costs of their own.

Though focused on senior citizens, we intended to limit property taxes for all citizens. We are opposed to new bills that give a break to seniors at the expense of young families with mortgages, family healthcare expenses, future college tuition and their own retirement savings. We are especially opposed to House 2341, which would exclude seniors from an override in their community. This is clearly meant to encourage seniors to stay home, thereby helping overrides pass – at which time the other burdened taxpayers would have to pick up the seniors’ share of the new higher taxes.

We have also filed bills that would help all taxpayers by limiting the number of overrides to one a year, and allowing an underride in all communities, not just the few that presently have the ability to place a tax cut on local ballots.

Prop 2½ went into effect twenty five years ago, as of July 1. Some legislators have never stopped hating it, and some of them have again filed this bill. We appreciate the twenty-five years of support that the Legislature in general has shown for Prop 2½, the senior citizens’ best friend, and hope that you will vote No on H. 2341.

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