and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

October 18, 2006

Deval’s "Property Tax Relief" Plan Revealed At Last!

Finally:  we have the "details" of Deval Patrick’s touted "property tax relief" plan.

If elected, Patrick refuses to roll back the state income tax rate to 5% as overwhelmingly mandated by the voters in 2000.  Instead, he says that he wants to use that excess revenue to alleviate the burden of high property taxes.  But nobody could determine how he intends to accomplish that – until last night’s debate between the candidates for lieutenant governor, hosted by New England Cable News.

Moderator Jim Braude asked Patrick’s running mate, Democrat Timothy P. Murray, the question we’ve all been waiting to hear:  "How do you guarantee the voters that if you don't cut the income tax they will see their property taxes cut; where's the guarantee in the Patrick/Murray plan?"

Murray’s response:  "Well, despite what Kerry Healey says, I have confidence in many of the local officials, the hundreds of local officials that we elect around the state.  It's not in their political interest to raise property taxes.  And so there are ways that we can structure it as well, so that seniors are particularly targeted, those most vulnerable who are on fixed incomes.  So it's about having a level of trust but also making sure that there's safeguards in place for seniors and people on fixed income."

Translation:  There is no plan to lower property taxes.  They will keep the taxpayers’ rollback money, give some of it to local officials in local aid, then, for some reason, "trust" municipalities to lower property taxes.  Yeah, like THAT’S gonna happen.

During the ‘90s, when the cities and town got record local aid, property taxes increased.  During the last state fiscal crisis, voters in my town passed an override to make up for lost local aid. But later that year, when the state had a surplus, it sent more local aid to Marblehead -- which kept the override money anyhow, and my property taxes went up.  When I asked why the override was still necessary, I was told "We can always use the money."

No wonder the teachers union is investing over $1 million to get the Patrick/Murray ticket elected.  We’ll have high income taxes AND property tax hikes, which has always been the Mass. Teachers Association’s self-serving goal.

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