Letter from Citizens for Limited Taxation
Patrick/Murray Transition Committee
56 Roland Street, Ste. 100D
Boston, MA 02129
Dear Governor-elect Patrick:
You said that you want to reach out to diversity, to work with not only
those who voted for you but those who did not.
Here I am.
We Citizens for Limited Taxation, Massachusetts’ only statewide
grassroots taxpayers association, know you will need a balance to all
the special interest groups that will try to pressure you to raise
taxes, change Proposition 2½, and spend more than our present tax burden
can afford. Many of those groups actively supported your candidacy. But
we have been reassured by your insistence that there were no commitments
made to them and by your campaign statement that you have “no plans” to
raise taxes or attack Prop 2½.”
Of course we would feel better if you had taken the “no new taxes”
pledge, which has protected us Massachusetts taxpayers for the past 16
years. It was not intended to “position” a candidate for governor, but
to send a message to the legislative leadership that it should cooperate
with executive branch proposals for reform and efficiencies because the
governor will not be taking the easy way out of fiscal difficulties with
a tax hike.
We were startled that, when answering a campaign question on what was
your least favorite book, you chose “anything by Grover Norquist.” Of
the hundreds of books you must have read in your life, you picked
“anything” by the leader of Americans for Tax Reform, creator of the
taxpayer protection pledge, and a close CLT ally. We and Grover rarely
disagree, so this must mean that... uh-oh.
But even if your intentions on taxes are pure, assaults on Prop 2½ can
be very subtle – an exclusion here, a “minor adjustment” there, perhaps
hidden by its enemies on otherwise innocent legislation.
The Republican administrations would call me to discuss such attempts;
please feel free to do this at any time. I realize that Prop 2½ is
fairly complicated and very few people really understand the way it
works or the motivations of its sponsors, so please take advantage of
our sincere offer to discuss it with your staff at any time.
We also await the opportunity to support your promised property tax
When you were elected, it seemed to me there were three possibilities,
and though I carefully follow your transition activities, I can’t find a
favorite among them – and I’ve heard other people say this too. Either:
1. You are “the real thing,” a new kind of politician, someone who can
govern above the usual non-productive, game-playing, partisan Beacon
Hill fray and actually make the Commonwealth a place we’d rather live
than dream of escaping. If this is you, you have arrived just in time. Perhaps another Democrat can talk sense into the Legislature about
necessary reforms; can discourage pork that displaces essential
programs; can end the game of ignoring infrastructure maintenance and
direct human services so that there is “justification” for a tax
increase. Maybe you can find a way to deal with illegal immigration and
the Kelo decision on eminent domain. Maybe you will find the “nursing
home tax” as appalling as we do.
We can also hope that you will respect the state constitution on ballot
questions and take steps to honor promises made to taxpayers about
“temporary” taxes. Your recent disdain for the voters on the income tax
rollback was not reassuring. We hope you meant it when you said,
“someday,” and that “someday” is soon.
I was happy to learn that you do not expect to “run the state like a
business.” Other businessman-politicians have arrived with that naive
expectation, only to leave office sooner rather than later, muttering to
We note with surprised admiration that you did not have a knee-jerk
response to the recent gubernatorial veto of the supplemental budget,
promising to restore all cuts before you had time to investigate the
reason for them.
Or, possibility 2. You are a master manipulator of the people’s longing
for “the real thing” and they will learn too late that you are just
another liberal Democrat who takes from the taxpayers to give to the
If I may quote you, “I think you are better than that.” Or, at least
smarter than that, knowing that you want your governorship to be
successful and widely admired.
Or, possibility 3. You sincerely intend to be “the real thing” but have
no idea what you are getting into with the professionally dysfunctional
Democrat leadership and followers down the hall from your new office. I
moved to Massachusetts just in time to watch Michael Dukakis try to be a
reformer and get his head handed to him. I realize he gave you good
advice on running at the grassroots level; let’s hope his next advice
isn’t to do what he did in his next terms, when he became what he had
once wanted to change.
Governor-elect Patrick: we are entering the season of miracles. Like so
many others, I want to believe. Best wishes in your new job, in the New
Year, in what we hope will be a new commonwealth.
Citizens for Limited Taxation