CITIZENS   FOR  LIMITED  TAXATION
and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

CLT UPDATE
Sunday, September 17 2006

Democrats diss voters ... 'cause they can


A rollback of the Massachusetts income tax rate to 5 percent -- something voters mandated in 2000 by decisively approving Question 4 on the state ballot -- is said to be a key issue in the campaign for governor. But that's not quite accurate....

Each gubernatorial candidate claims to respect the voters. Presumably, each is prepared to be treated by the voters with the same respect. With that in mind, I offer a modest proposal: Let the winner of the November election take office in accordance with his or her approach to the tax cut voters approved six years ago....

Ballot measures are a check and balance on political highhandedness and an important vehicle for redressing citizens' grievances. Governors and lawmakers must not be allowed to trash them at will. Those who try to do so might benefit from a taste of their own undemocratic medicine.

The Boston Globe
Sunday, September 17, 2006
A question of voter respect
By Jeff Jacoby


It's time to hold Kerry Healey accountable....

Healey has two issues going for her: taxes and the illusion of bringing balance to Beacon Hill....

Healey's biggest advantage is the ability to make the state income tax rollback the defining issue of the 2006 governor's race. Patrick's anti rollback position thrills liberals but puts him at a big disadvantage in the general election. Barring the rollback door entirely is a tough sell to the electorate. This is one place where nuance -- a responsible tax rollback, which does not jeopardize education, healthcare or local aid -- may win over more reasonable voters. That's Gabrieli's approach and it's another reason Healey doesn't want to run against him.

The Boston Globe
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Smart on taxes, tough on Healey
By Joan Vennochi


Former Gov. Michael Dukakis blasted Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey for launching a "disgraceful" television ad targeting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Gabrieliís stance on stem cell research.

The Healey ad, which rolled out this week, suggests the venture capitalist stands to profit from his proposal to publicly fund stem cell research....

"Weíve been a target of baseless smear attacks by our opponents and their special-interest friends," OíBrien said, referring to the anti-Healey ad.

"I have no idea who that group is," Dukakis said. As for the Patriot Majority Fundís ads themselves, he said: "Iíve never seen them."

The Boston Herald
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Duke: Healey ad positively 'disgraceful'


Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

How do you like that, it's become the "the defining issue of the 2006 governor's race," even according to liberal Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi?  Just as we at CLT were resigning ourselves to the fact that no matter what, the intransigent Legislature was not going to give in to mere voters and taken-for-granted constituents.  None of the Democrats allegedly representing us intends to grant the voters' 59-41 percent mandate in 2000 that the income tax rate be finally rolled back to 5 percent, never mind their votes or the democratic process.

Nonetheless, it's become the Democrat gubernatorial candidates' albatross.  Each of them has "a plan" of one sort or another to address the polling data. Deval Patrick's keeps shifting:  I guess today it's no rollback, or maybe some day down the road when state government has more money than he can ingeniously spend on his new programs; something like that, who knows?  Check back again for an update on Deval's evolving "plan," a moving target.

An AP report in the Times Daily, an Alabama newspaper, yesterday focused on our Massachusetts Democrat gubernatorial primary campaign, of all things.  It noted:

In a state where consumers have soured on the economy, cutting the state's income tax has emerged as the most contentious economic issue dividing the three Democratic candidates for governor.... Despite their contrasting philosophies on economic issues, the differences in the candidates' job-growth plans may be subtle enough to make little or no impression on voters compared with the stark disagreements on cutting the income tax rate.

Alabama?!?  I suppose if a tax cut can happen here in Taxachusetts it's national news.

The Boston Globe's token conservative columnist, Jeff Jacoby, hit it on the mark this morning in his column:  if votes and voters truly matter at all whatsoever to Democrats, then they should equally respect voters and their vote before taking office, or put off assuming that position until they can and do.  We first presented this uniquely-foreign concept in a July news release, "Gabrieli Tax Plan."  Personally, I like Jeff's formula.


Honestly, you've got to admire Mike Dukakis and his desperate attempt to become relevant again, resurrect himself and his abysmal record, the poor soul.  He's heading-up some kind of arcane Democrat committee to oversee its candidates and their messages -- but with nothing else to do in his free time as the state party's "elder statesman," he's going after the Republican candidate, oh gosh.  But he has proven to be as just clueless as before, unintentionally hapless or otherwise.

He apparently missed the illicit union/party attacks against Healey now airing -- beneath the radar of the new "campaign finance reform" law.

Michael Stanley, keep yourself out there for the world to see --  see and remember at this critical point -- so we can all recall the last Democrat who reigned as our state's governor, and what a disaster you were for this commonwealth, the billions you have cost us -- are still taking from our pockets seventeen years of your broken promise later -- about a third of my lifetime ago.

You still don't recognize opposition party attack ads?  Apparently you learned nothing from first Al Gore's then later GWH Bush's Willy Horton ads, mister failed would-be President of the US of A.  By the way, how's that tank helmet fitting these days -- getting a little tighter is it?

Chip Ford


The Boston Globe
Sunday, September 17, 2006

A question of voter respect
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist

A rollback of the Massachusetts income tax rate to 5 percent -- something voters mandated in 2000 by decisively approving Question 4 on the state ballot -- is said to be a key issue in the campaign for governor. But that's not quite accurate. To be sure, the candidates have had plenty to say on the subject, especially since an August poll showed that a solid majority of likely Democratic voters want the tax reduced from the current 5.3 percent. The real question at the heart of the candidates' differing positions is not "Should the income tax be cut to 5 percent?" It is this: "Should politicians treat voters' decisions with deference -- or as mere recommendations they can ignore with impunity?"

Each gubernatorial candidate claims to respect the voters. Presumably, each is prepared to be treated by the voters with the same respect. With that in mind, I offer a modest proposal: Let the winner of the November election take office in accordance with his or her approach to the tax cut voters approved six years ago.

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey has consistently called for the income tax to be rolled back immediately, in keeping with the 2000 mandate. If she wins, she would be sworn in on the first Thursday in January, the normal inauguration day.

Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly firmly opposed the rollback until December 2005, when he suddenly shifted his position on the grounds that Massachusetts was now at the "point of having sufficient reserves" to afford a tax cut. If he wins in November, his inauguration would be delayed until December 2011, nearly five years after the date specified by law.

Businessman Chris Gabrieli spent $15,000 to defeat Question 4 in 2000 and opposes it to this day. Rather than implement the law as voters passed it, he proposes instead to gradually reduce the tax rate if revenues rise faster than inflation. His inauguration, should he win, would be delayed for six years, after which he would very gradually assume office -- at first serving just one day a week, then two days, etc. -- on a schedule tied to the economy. With sustained economic growth, Gabrieli could expect to be a full-time governor before 2020.

Former Clinton administration official Deval Patrick has maintained that Question 4 should not take effect. Accordingly, if he wins in November, he would not take office.

I think that's reasonable, don't you? What's that, Mr. Patrick -- you don't agree? And Messrs. Reilly and Gabrieli, you don't like my proposal either? But why not? If you don't consider an election binding when it comes to a ballot measure, why should a majority vote for a candidate be considered final? On the other hand, if you're prepared to accept the voters' judgment in choosing a governor, why treat their decision on a ballot initiative with such contempt?

For 88 years, Massachusetts voters have had the power to pass legislation at the ballot through initiatives and referenda. For nearly all that time, their legislative decisions were regarded as sacrosanct. Successful ballot measures took effect, even if political elites disliked them. Only in the last few years has Beacon Hill had the gall to undermine laws adopted by the people. It refused to fund the so-called Clean Elections campaign finance scheme that voters approved in 1998 (the law was eventually repealed through a subsequent ballot measure). And it pulled the plug on the two tax cuts voters adopted in 2000 -- Question 4's income tax rollback and the tax deduction for charitable gifts created by Question 7.

Such behavior is outrageous and antidemocratic. Politicians who refuse to honor your vote are politicians who don't deserve to receive your vote. That doesn't mean that candidates have to agree with the outcome of an election. It *does* mean that, whether they agree with it or not, they will abide by it.

Is there no other course? Sure there is: Gabrieli, Patrick, or anyone else who thinks Massachusetts cannot "afford" to reduce its income tax rate by three-tenths of a percentage point can always mount a ballot campaign to reverse Question 4. Anything else -- including "freezing" the rollback at 5.3 percent, as the Legislature did in 2002 -- is dishonorable.

Ballot measures are a check and balance on political highhandedness and an important vehicle for redressing citizens' grievances. Governors and lawmakers must not be allowed to trash them at will. Those who try to do so might benefit from a taste of their own undemocratic medicine.

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The Boston Globe
Sunday, September 17, 2006

Smart on taxes, tough on Healey
By Joan Vennochi, Globe Columnist


It's time to hold Kerry Healey accountable.

Her resume is thinner than an iPod Nano. Why should she be the next governor?

As lieutenant governor, Healey held the hands of mayors across the Commonwealth as they watched municipal budgets implode, compliments of the Romney-Healey administration.

She also spent time standing behind Romney at press conferences. This summer, she helped Romney adjust his safety vest before he patrolled a Big Dig tunnel. This month, when Dick Cheney came to Boston for a fund-raiser, she was there, too. But, she didn't have the guts to greet the unpopular vice president at the airport -- or the guts to decline the invitation to the Cheney event.

Her willingness to stand by her GOP men is matched by her unwillingness to challenge the policies they represent.

When Romney cut and ran from the moderate social positions the Romney-Healey ticket embraced in 2002, Healey said nothing. Even though she says she is prochoice, she let Romney get away with flip-flops on abortion rights. She never distanced herself from his right-leaning tilt -- until, as a candidate for governor, she saw political benefit in supporting emergency contraception legislation.

As for the Bush-Cheney agenda, she told NECN's Jim Braude, "I feel very strongly that there are things that I agree with in national policy -- keeping taxes lower and having an aggressive foreign policy and having standards in education." Yes, those Bush administration priorities -- tax breaks for the rich, the war in Iraq, and educational standards without federal funding to back them up -- are real popular here in Massachusetts.

Shortly before primary day, Healey launched a silly and dishonest attack ad at Chris Gabrieli, one of three Democrats running for governor. The ad calls Gabrieli a "tycoon" and charges him with supporting public investment in stem cell research strictly to enrich himself. This accusation comes from the wife of a ``tycoon." Her husband, Sean, got a questionable $1.2 million state tax credit that he later returned after negative publicity.

In response to the Healey attack, Gabrieli said he did not believe any of the companies he invested in are doing stem cell research; but even if they are, ``I believe in stem cell research, and it's going to take public and private financing to cure these diseases." He also pledged that if he is elected governor, he would sell his stock in any biotech or high-tech company to avoid even the appearance of conflict.

In case you missed it, Healey really doesn't want to run against Gabrieli. He has what her husband has -- lots of money -- and everything she lacks -- a portfolio of personal accomplishment and executive leadership skills. Democrats Deval Patrick and Tom Reilly also boast impressive records of personal and professional accomplishment, in strong contrast to Healey. Before she was plucked to run with Romney, she was a law and public safety consultant at Abt Associates and twice ran unsuccessfully for the state Legislature.

Healey has two issues going for her: taxes and the illusion of bringing balance to Beacon Hill.

Since Bill Weld's victory in 1990, Republican gubernatorial candidates continue to press and win the argument that they are needed to offset Democrats who control the House and Senate. But think about it. Does Healey have the stature, clout, or experience to hold House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi and Senate President Robert Travaglini in check? Romney accomplished it rarely, and only when public pressure was so strong that legislative leaders could not resist it. One example of that is Melanie's Law, championed by Romney and Healey, to toughen drunken driving penalties.

Healey's biggest advantage is the ability to make the state income tax rollback the defining issue of the 2006 governor's race. Patrick's anti rollback position thrills liberals but puts him at a big disadvantage in the general election. Barring the rollback door entirely is a tough sell to the electorate. This is one place where nuance -- a responsible tax rollback, which does not jeopardize education, healthcare or local aid -- may win over more reasonable voters. That's Gabrieli's approach and it's another reason Healey doesn't want to run against him.

She's smart -- she went to Harvard, after all. She is willing to play tough politics, as demonstrated by her first strike against Gabrieli.

The Democrat who wins on Tuesday better be smarter, tougher -- and ready to make Healey, not taxes, the issue. And fast.

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The Boston Herald
Sunday, September 17, 2006

Duke: Healey ad positively 'disgraceful'
By Kimberly Atkins

Former Gov. Michael Dukakis blasted Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey for launching a "disgraceful" television ad targeting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Gabrieliís stance on stem cell research.

The Healey ad, which rolled out this week, suggests the venture capitalist stands to profit from his proposal to publicly fund stem cell research.

"Itís a disgraceful ad," Dukakis said from his Northeastern University office. "To suggest that this guy is supporting stem cell research because heís going to make money off of it is ludicrous."

He also said the ad shows that the post-primary race will be bloody.

"She is going to be attacking, and attacking and attacking," Dukakis said.

The former governor, who is the head of a state Democratic Party panel aimed at banning Democratic candidates from running attack ads, said that while no television spot has prompted any reprimands, they arenít exactly the picture of positivity.

"Well, I would have preferred that the race stay positive," Dukakis said, but in the grand scheme of things, "Iíve seen a lot worse, let me tell you."

Healey spokesman Tim OíBrien said the ad was launched in response to a spot broadcast throughout Massachusetts by the Democratic group the Patriot Majority Fund.

The tax-exempt group funded by Democratic and labor groups portrayed Healey as an out-of-touch power abuser.

"Weíve been a target of baseless smear attacks by our opponents and their special-interest friends," OíBrien said, referring to the anti-Healey ad.

"I have no idea who that group is," Dukakis said. As for the Patriot Majority Fundís ads themselves, he said: "Iíve never seen them."

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