and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

The MetroWest Daily News
Sunday, October 15, 2006

Roll back the income tax
by Chip Ford / Guest Columnist

The votersí decision in 2000, by a 59-41 percent margin, mandated an income tax rollback to 5 percent. This has become a big part of the 2006 gubernatorial campaign so itís time to shed some critical light on the topic.

Some candidates who would be governor want to put the voters off yet again. This has been its policy since 1989, when the Legislature promised that its increase would be only "temporary."

We taxpayers know too well that tax cuts are temporary, but tax increases are forever, which is why Citizens for Limited Taxation opposed it 17 years ago.

But here we are, again, so letís look at this from the perspective of the losers in the 2000 election. Let us pretend that democracy and votes really matter here for a few moments, just for the sake of debate.

Weíre told that an alternative to the votersí income tax rollback is property tax relief. As the drafters and ballot campaign proponents of Proposition 2Ĺ in 1980, we stand behind none in concern for property taxpayers. More state revenue sent to municipalities isnít a bad idea on its own, but unfortunately, that taxpayer cash has often translated to more money for public employee unions and other profligacies, and eventually higher property taxes, on top of the high state income tax.

When the cyclical national economy inevitably slows, where does our Legislature cut much of its spending? Local aid, because it has the most noticeable impact.

Why? Because itís easier than setting sensible state priorities and cutting off traditional constituencies and legislatorsí own privileges.

So itís up to voters to determine how much -- or how little -- they can live with concerning local government services provided from that missing local aid.

Whatís wrong with this? The state is consuming too much of "the pie," taking too much from taxpayersí pockets to begin with.

Thus we have continual Prop 2Ĺ override campaigns and often voter-mandated higher property taxes to provide services which we rightfully expect from government, from the money we already provide to it for those.

So the gubernatorial candidates who would allegedly relieve our property tax burden by ignoring a voter mandate are going to do this -- how? By giving more of our money to municipal government to squander?

Before you buy this latest promise, ask for a plan that will actually cut your property tax, and see what they say.

Chip Ford is director of operations for Citizens for Limited Taxation.

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