CITIZENS   FOR  LIMITED  TAXATION
and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

CLT UPDATE
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Speaking truth to idiocy


In the race for governor, the first debate featuring all four candidates is history, and it may have provided a preview of what the next six weeks will look like. The buzz today surrounds the performance of Independent candidate Christy Mihos.

Mihos is taking plenty of heat from Kerry Healey supporters, including the state's top anti-tax activist, Barbara Anderson.

Anderson was among the talk radio callers lambasting Mihos, a former Republican who had a falling out with the Romney administration, for his scathing debate criticism of Healey....

Even Barbara Anderson called in to chastise her former ally.

"You're going to wreck the Commonwealth by taking votes from Kerry Healey," said Anderson. "While this has been very amusing, the time has come to realize this is just a personal vendetta, you've made your point, now let's just get on with the real election and try to save the Commonwealth."

But Mihos is unmoved. "No one's getting me out of this race."

CBS4 -- WBZ TV
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Mihos Catching Heat For Debate Performance
By Jon Keller


Gov. Mitt Romney on Tuesday railed against Christy Mihos, refuting the independent candidateís efforts in a new ad and in a televised debate Monday night to blame Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and the administration for failing to take charge of the Big Dig.

Romney told reporters that heíd done everything he could during his four years in office to seize control of the turnpike and the Big Dig, which has been riddled with cost overruns and construction problems. But Romney said the authority has acted like an "independent corporation" not accountable to the governorís office....

"The people who are on the board, they have that power," Romney said. "And the question I have is why didnít Christy Mihos get it? Why didnít he ask what the inspection system was for the turnpike authority? Why didnít he ask what the contract was for the people collecting the tolls? He wasnít doing his job." ...

On Tuesday, Romney recalled how he sought the power to intervene at the authority from the Supreme Judicial Court and hired "the best lawyers that money could buy" and "as many political people as we could think of" to try to take control. He got control this summer when his authority appointees outnumbered those of his predecessors.

And he blamed the Legislature for not passing his plans to merge the turnpike authority and highway department.

"The Legislature didnít want me to get control," Romney said.

State House News Service
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Romney defends Healey on Big Did,
says Mihos "wasn't doing his job" at 'pike


Fees and taxes have increased more than $700 million a year under Governor Mitt Romney and Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, a leading budget specialist said yesterday.

Michael J. Widmer -- president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which closely tracks state finances -- said the state has raised roughly $740 million to $750 million per year by increasing fees and corporate taxes gained from what the Romney administration describes as "closing loopholes." ...

The Boston Globe
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Analyst puts increase in fees, taxes at $700m
Governor gives far lower figure


Fees and taxes have increased more than $700 million a year under Governor Mitt Romney and Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, a leading budget specialist said yesterday.

Michael J. Widmer -- president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which closely tracks state finances ...

The Boston Globe
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Analyst puts increase in fees, taxes at $700m
Governor gives far lower figure


Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

Thoroughbred horseracing has long been called "The Sport of Kings."  Today, in Massachusetts we can call the race for governor "The Sport of Millionaires" -- particularly concerning one candidate:  wealthy Christy Mihos.

In the Boston Herald/Fox TV  debate this past Monday evening, unenrolled candidate Mihos referred to his independent candidacy  as "my party" -- but the fact is, he has no party.  That is the very definition of "unenrolled."  There is no "Independent Party" to which he can lay claim.  I am registered as unenrolled; Barbara is registered as unenrolled:  the majority of Massachusetts voters are registered as unenrolled.  We are intentionally part of no party, and Mihos doesn't top our ticket by any stretch of anyone's imagination.  His "party" never held an election that anointed him as its candidate.  He is merely the spoiler in this race.

Christy Mihos simply has enough money to run, or do pretty much anything he fancies.  His Kamikaze motivation for spending his "childrens' inheritance," as he called it the other night, is becoming much too clear to most of us.  Ego and jihad pretty much sums it up.  He's running because he can, regardless of what the results of his Quixotic quest will do to the Commonwealth and us taxpayers after he singlehandedly inflicts as much personal damage as possible, simply to assuage his bruised ego during his scorched-earth campaign against the state Republican Party.

[Hear Barbara's exchange with Mihos.]

He can always afford to pack up and leave, just the latest to emigrate from "Taxachusetts," after he does maximum damage.  He pledges, win or lose, that he'll remain in the Bay State.  Even if he does, can you or I?

I don't know about you, but one little man's petty indifference in pursuit of ego and self-satisfaction at any price has become intolerable for this taxpayer.


And, dear god, please give us a break from the so-called Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. We have named  it accurately the "so-called" MTF, but WRKO's Scott Allen Miller created a better acronym this morning: the Massachusetts Taxhike Foundation (still MTF).  Scott has given us permission to use it, and believe me we intend to!  Wow, finally, "well-respected" is losing it drifting media cachet.  Maybe there's hope for us citizens and taxpayers?

Chip Ford


CBS4 -- WBZ TV
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mihos Catching Heat For Debate Performance
By Jon Keller


In the race for governor, the first debate featuring all four candidates is history, and it may have provided a preview of what the next six weeks will look like. The buzz today surrounds the performance of Independent candidate Christy Mihos.

Mihos is taking plenty of heat from Kerry Healey supporters, including the state's top anti-tax activist, Barbara Anderson.

Anderson was among the talk radio callers lambasting Mihos, a former Republican who had a falling out with the Romney administration, for his scathing debate criticism of Healey.

Mihos strafed Healey repeatedly on the Big Dig in an assault that drew a foul call from Governor Mitt Romney.

"I was at a loss for words," said Romney.

But today, it was Christy's turn to take the heat from callers to John DePetro's radio show.

"It seems like it's more than obvious that this is a personal vendetta," said one caller.

"You totally forgot about Deval Patrick, this is the real danger. If he wins the gubernatorial race, it's gonna be 100% on your conscience," said another caller.

Even Barbara Anderson called in to chastise her former ally.

"You're going to wreck the Commonwealth by taking votes from Kerry Healey," said Anderson. "While this has been very amusing, the time has come to realize this is just a personal vendetta, you've made your point, now let's just get on with the real election and try to save the Commonwealth."

But Mihos is unmoved. "No one's getting me out of this race."

Keller: "If all you do is make your point and you don't win in the end, will it have been worth it?"

Mihos: "Everything is worth it, it's on principle."

Healey was so unnerved by Mihos's aggressive behavior, she called for a one-on-one debate with Patrick to get away from what she called Christy's "noise."

Just a reminder - the candidates for governor meet and debate here on CBS4 on Wednesday, October 25th -- with Mihos and Green/Rainbow nominee Grace Ross participating.

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State House News Service
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Romney defends Healey on Big Did,
says Mihos "wasn't doing his job" at 'pike
By Michael P. Norton and Jim OíSullivan


Gov. Mitt Romney on Tuesday railed against Christy Mihos, refuting the independent candidateís efforts in a new ad and in a televised debate Monday night to blame Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and the administration for failing to take charge of the Big Dig.

Romney told reporters that heíd done everything he could during his four years in office to seize control of the turnpike and the Big Dig, which has been riddled with cost overruns and construction problems. But Romney said the authority has acted like an "independent corporation" not accountable to the governorís office.

He said the authority ignored his requests for information, including former chairman Matthew Amorelloís contract details, and sold valuable land in Allston to Harvard University over his objections. Mihos, a former board member who helped propel Romneyís gubernatorial candidacy in 2002, could have done more, Romney said.

"The people who are on the board, they have that power," Romney said. "And the question I have is why didnít Christy Mihos get it? Why didnít he ask what the inspection system was for the turnpike authority? Why didnít he ask what the contract was for the people collecting the tolls? He wasnít doing his job."

Mihos, a critic of the authority who was forced from its board by then-Acting Gov. Jane Swift and then reinstated by a Supreme Judicial Court ruling, on Monday night blamed the administration for "intentional indifference."

"This administration has had all the reports, all the financial statements, they've had their people on this board since June, since July of 2004," Mihos said during the debate, the first between all four candidates. "The Big Dig is the state's project. Every bill, everything that's done there has got to be voted on by their highway department. Every bill is paid for with state funds. They could've done something in January of 2003. This intentional indifference to blame everybody else except themselves is what has caused this mess."

On Tuesday, Romney recalled how he sought the power to intervene at the authority from the Supreme Judicial Court and hired "the best lawyers that money could buy" and "as many political people as we could think of" to try to take control. He got control this summer when his authority appointees outnumbered those of his predecessors.

And he blamed the Legislature for not passing his plans to merge the turnpike authority and highway department.

"The Legislature didnít want me to get control," Romney said. "And the reason they donít want me to get control is that the turnpike has been a haven of patronage for years. Itís a place for privileged and special political opportunity. And one of their own (former chairman and state Sen. Amorello) is the guy running the operation and heís an insider Ė itís not by the way Republican versus Democrat, itís insider versus outsider. And I said I want to come in and get my hands on the thing and open this up to the public and thatís what weíve done."

Asked by a reporter if the administration had filed public records law requests with the turnpike authority, Romney said, "We did every possible filing to get every piece of information we knew of." Pressed on the question, he deferred to his chief legal counsel, Mark Nielsen, "We did everything that we possibly could," said Nielsen.

Asked by another reporter whether his administration could have severed a Big Dig-related interagency agreement between the Massachusetts Highway Department, which Romney controls, and the turnpike authority, Romney said: "Iím not familiar with that particular idea. Itís just amazing how creative people are after we finally got it done."

Mihos campaign manager Carolyn Kain said turnpike officials denied Mihos information when he served on the board, and pointed out that the convenience store magnate went to court to battle for access.

"Christy took definitive action when he was on the board and the record shows when he was on the board on Oct. 30, 2001 that he voted for an independent engineer and peer review of the Big Dig," Kain said Tuesday afternoon. She added, "His record is clear with respect to trying to do everything he could to get control of the project and to get information."

Mihos has said repeatedly that administration officials could have accessed more information than they did, using project failures to paint Healey as part of an inept leadership team, saying during the debate, "All the documents are right there, Kerry. You chose the intentional indifference. You ran away from your responsibilities. I don't understand - I gave you the documents and you people did nothing with it, and as a result, we're the laughing stock of the nation. Two people are dead today because you did nothing, you remained silent. You violated the public trust by doing nothing. You could've taken that over day one, you chose not to do it."

Romney and Mihos have shared a tenuous relationship, first as well-heeled allies in the stateís small Republican Party power circles, now with Mihos using criticism of the administration to boost what so far has been a poorly polling campaign.

In early 2002, Mihos commissioned a poll to gauge Romneyís popularity, the favorable results of which helped nudge Mihosís enemy Swift out of the race. After the stateís high court reinstated Mihos on the turnpike board, following Swiftís ouster of him, Romney declined to reappoint him once his term expired.

Last year, Romney unsuccessfully pitched Mihos, whose only bid for elected office came in a failed 1990 primary run against state Sen. Robert Hedlund, on a challenge of Sen. Edward Kennedy for the US Senate.

Mihos, who had been an outspoken Republican, left the party earlier this year to run independently, and has grown increasingly vocal on condemning administration policies, and Romney himself. In a Boston Globe op-ed last March, he wrote, "The politics of confrontation has replaced cooperation. How else to explain the [since-passed] stalled economic stimulus package or the travels and tribulations of Governor Romney?"

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The Boston Globe
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Analyst puts increase in fees, taxes at $700m
Governor gives far lower figure
By Brian C. Mooney, Globe Staff

Fees and taxes have increased more than $700 million a year under Governor Mitt Romney and Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, a leading budget specialist said yesterday.

Michael J. Widmer -- president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which closely tracks state finances -- said the state has raised roughly $740 million to $750 million per year by increasing fees and corporate taxes gained from what the Romney administration describes as "closing loopholes."

Widmer's figure is about $500 million more than what Romney asserted yesterday when he sharply disputed charges by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Deval L . Patrick that the GOP administration had raised millions in taxes. But it is also tens of millions less than the $985 million that Patrick cited.

Taxes have become a central issue in the gubernatorial campaign. Healey has focused on Patrick's opposition to an immediate rollback of the income tax rate. Patrick attempted this week to redefine the battle on taxes by focusing on the fees raised in the Romney-Healey administration.

In a debate Monday, Patrick said that Romney and Healey proposed $985 million in tax increases. Backup information from his campaign said the actual increases that were approved by the Democratic Legislature add up to $800 million per year.

"Our list is slightly smaller," Widmer said in an interview.

In a press conference yesterday, Romney contended that Patrick was exaggerating the figure, which the governor pegged at $260 million in fees raised at the height of the state's fiscal crisis in 2003. Part of the reason for the discrepancy is a dispute over the characterization of the corporate tax increases.

"What planet does that come from?" Romney said when asked by reporters about Patrick's contention.

Patrick's list includes scores of fee increases, including tuition and fees at state and community colleges and some $309 million in new corporate revenues that he labels tax increases. Most of the increases were enacted in fiscal 2003 to stop the state's financial freefall from a recession-caused 15-percent drop in state revenues the prior year.

Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney's communications director, said: "Deval Patrick is right. There was a fiscal crisis four years ago, and it was solved by Mitt Romney and Kerry Healey. They solved it by cutting spending. They did not raise taxes, and the fee increases accounted for a small amount of the solution."

Healey campaign manager Tim O'Brien yesterday welcomed the focus on taxes "because there's only one candidate who's said he'd be open to raising taxes and that's Deval Patrick, and only one candidate who signed the no-new-taxes pledge, Kerry Healey." He called Patrick's making fees an issue "a pretty lame smokescreen."

In interviews with the Globe, Widmer and E. Cameron Huff, the foundation's research director, said the only significant discrepancy they found in Patrick's list was his figure of $230 million in increased costs of legal filings in connection with real estate transactions. When he proposed the fee increases, Romney used the higher amount, but actual collections have fallen $50 million to $60 million below that estimate, Huff said.

After he took office in January 2003, Romney instructed his revenue chief, Alan Lebovidge, to examine the tax code to find tax loopholes and other provisions that could be tweaked to bring in more money, according to a 2005 Globe article. Over the objections of businesses, Romney and the state Legislature raised roughly $210 million by closing loopholes and increasing enforcement, according to the Globe. He proposed to raise another $170 million in 2005, but later watered down the proposal after an outcry from business groups.

Yesterday, Widmer disputed the contention that the state merely stepped up its tax enforcement. "Many of the proposals were a direct reversal of state tax policies ... and were legitimately called tax increases," Widmer said. "A minority are fairly argued as closing loopholes."

Retorted Fehrnstrom: "When we see loopholes we close them. [Widmer] disagrees because some of the businesses he represents were taking advantage of the loopholes."

Yesterday Romney also disputed arguments by Patrick and others that the Romney-Healey administration's deep cuts in local aid forced cities and towns to raise local property taxes. "Do you know how big a ball of baloney that is?" Romney told reporters. He then displayed some colored graphs to show that the rate of growth in local property taxes has been fairly steady for the past two decades.

But Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, said huge cuts in local aid in 2003-04 to cope with the fiscal crisis continue to strain local budgets and tax bases.

"The cuts were so deep in 2003 and 2004 that there are still 113 cities and towns [out of 351] today that still receive less local aid than they did in fiscal year 2002, and that's without adjusting for inflation," said Beckwith, whose association represents the interests of local governments on Beacon Hill.

Fehrnstrom said the financial distress at the local level is overstated. "It ain't as bad as Deval Patrick and the cities and towns make it out to be," he said.

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The Boston Globe
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Analyst puts increase in fees, taxes at $700m
Governor gives far lower figure
By Brian C. Mooney, Globe Staff


Fees and taxes have increased more than $700 million a year under Governor Mitt Romney and Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, a leading budget specialist said yesterday.

Michael J. Widmer -- president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which closely tracks state finances -- said the state has raised roughly $740 million to $750 million per year by increasing fees and corporate taxes gained from what the Romney administration describes as "closing loopholes."

Widmer's figure is about $500 million more than what Romney asserted yesterday when he sharply disputed charges by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Deval L . Patrick that the GOP administration had raised millions in taxes. But it is also tens of millions less than the $985 million that Patrick cited.

Taxes have become a central issue in the gubernatorial campaign. Healey has focused on Patrick's opposition to an immediate rollback of the income tax rate. Patrick attempted this week to redefine the battle on taxes by focusing on the fees raised in the Romney-Healey administration.

In a debate Monday, Patrick said that Romney and Healey proposed $985 million in tax increases. Backup information from his campaign said the actual increases that were approved by the Democratic Legislature add up to $800 million per year.

"Our list is slightly smaller," Widmer said in an interview.

In a press conference yesterday, Romney contended that Patrick was exaggerating the figure, which the governor pegged at $260 million in fees raised at the height of the state's fiscal crisis in 2003. Part of the reason for the discrepancy is a dispute over the characterization of the corporate tax increases.

"What planet does that come from?" Romney said when asked by reporters about Patrick's contention.

Patrick's list includes scores of fee increases, including tuition and fees at state and community colleges and some $309 million in new corporate revenues that he labels tax increases. Most of the increases were enacted in fiscal 2003 to stop the state's financial freefall from a recession-caused 15-percent drop in state revenues the prior year.

Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney's communications director, said: "Deval Patrick is right. There was a fiscal crisis four years ago, and it was solved by Mitt Romney and Kerry Healey. They solved it by cutting spending. They did not raise taxes, and the fee increases accounted for a small amount of the solution."

Healey campaign manager Tim O'Brien yesterday welcomed the focus on taxes "because there's only one candidate who's said he'd be open to raising taxes and that's Deval Patrick, and only one candidate who signed the no-new-taxes pledge, Kerry Healey." He called Patrick's making fees an issue "a pretty lame smokescreen."

In interviews with the Globe, Widmer and E. Cameron Huff, the foundation's research director, said the only significant discrepancy they found in Patrick's list was his figure of $230 million in increased costs of legal filings in connection with real estate transactions. When he proposed the fee increases, Romney used the higher amount, but actual collections have fallen $50 million to $60 million below that estimate, Huff said.

After he took office in January 2003, Romney instructed his revenue chief, Alan Lebovidge, to examine the tax code to find tax loopholes and other provisions that could be tweaked to bring in more money, according to a 2005 Globe article. Over the objections of businesses, Romney and the state Legislature raised roughly $210 million by closing loopholes and increasing enforcement, according to the Globe. He proposed to raise another $170 million in 2005, but later watered down the proposal after an outcry from business groups.

Yesterday, Widmer disputed the contention that the state merely stepped up its tax enforcement. "Many of the proposals were a direct reversal of state tax policies ... and were legitimately called tax increases," Widmer said. "A minority are fairly argued as closing loopholes."

Retorted Fehrnstrom: "When we see loopholes we close them. [Widmer] disagrees because some of the businesses he represents were taking advantage of the loopholes."

Yesterday Romney also disputed arguments by Patrick and others that the Romney-Healey administration's deep cuts in local aid forced cities and towns to raise local property taxes. "Do you know how big a ball of baloney that is?" Romney told reporters. He then displayed some colored graphs to show that the rate of growth in local property taxes has been fairly steady for the past two decades.

But Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, said huge cuts in local aid in 2003-04 to cope with the fiscal crisis continue to strain local budgets and tax bases.

"The cuts were so deep in 2003 and 2004 that there are still 113 cities and towns [out of 351] today that still receive less local aid than they did in fiscal year 2002, and that's without adjusting for inflation," said Beckwith, whose association represents the interests of local governments on Beacon Hill.

Fehrnstrom said the financial distress at the local level is overstated. "It ain't as bad as Deval Patrick and the cities and towns make it out to be," he said.

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