CLT UPDATE
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

"Override Central" blog launched by Boston Globe


Starting Sunday, March 18, the Globe has a new blog, Override Central, to keep you up to date on the talk about taxes in town halls, schools, dinner tables and on local blogs throughout the Boston area. It can be found at boston.com/overridecentral

Will your property tax bill be fatter this year? Will your child’s teachers be getting a raise? Will your library stay open on the weekends? The answers depend on how far your town leaders can stretch a dime and a nickel and whose arguments win out if the numbers don’t add up. . . .

The Boston Globe
Saturday, March 17, 2007
It's override time in Massachusetts


Barbara Anderson helped pass Proposition 2˝ 27 years ago, and she remains the leading anti-tax activist in the state through her group, Citizens for Limited Taxation.

She wrote an op-ed for the Globe at the 25 year mark. This week, we asked her to give us a quick history the season's tax increase campaigns begin.

Here's Barbara: . . .

The Boston Globe
Monday, March 18, 2007
Barbara Anderson: a brief history lesson
boston.com/overridecentral


Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

The Boston Globe has launched a very useful blog, "Override Central."  If it keeps itself up-to-date it'll provide a much needed service:  Timely information on ongoing local overrides around the state at any given moment.

The Department of Revenue's Division of Local Services provides a wealth of information on local finances, override history, and other municipal matters.  DLS, created by Proposition 2˝ in 1980, does a great job, but has always had difficulty with current and upcoming proposed overrides, debt exclusions, and other voter-approval property tax increases.  The Boston Globe, with its regional bureaus around the state, has a good opportunity to fill the gap between history and more immediate upcoming override votes; we wish them the best of luck.

For quite some time, I've had a set of Google search criteria which automatically feed me online news report headlines daily for stories which mention Prop 2˝ from around the state.  I send them out early every morning to CLT members who are local taxpayer-activists and leaders of local taxpayer organizations on their request.  Lately, I've begun adding media folks to my distribution list who've asked to also be included.

The Globe's "Override Central" blog expects to soon be open to comments from readers.  If you're interested or concerned with Proposition 2˝ overrides in your city or town, check in with "Override Central"  I'm sure the tax-and-spend pro-override forces will be well represented there.

Chip Ford

 


The Boston Globe
Saturday, March 17, 2007

It's override time in Massachusetts
http://www.boston.com/overridecentral


Forget about all that wet snow that dropped on us Friday. Spring is around the corner, and that means voters throughout the Commonwealth will be deciding whether to raise their property taxes.

Starting Sunday, March 18, the Globe has a new blog, Override Central, to keep you up to date on the talk about taxes in town halls, schools, dinner tables and on local blogs throughout the Boston area. It can be found at boston.com/overridecentral

Will your property tax bill be fatter this year? Will your child’s teachers be getting a raise? Will your library stay open on the weekends? The answers depend on how far your town leaders can stretch a dime and a nickel and whose arguments win out if the numbers don’t add up.

We will answer those questions, in our new blog and in the pages of our newspaper. And we also hope to hear from you. Email us at override@globe.com

According to the folks at the Massachusetts Municipal Association, 17 towns have scheduled override votes under the tax limitation law known as Proposition 2˝. Another 21 are considering ballot measures. Here's a partial list.

Voters in Canton rejected an override early this year. Voters in Winchester last week passed an override.

Prop 2˝ was enacted in 1980, and is a beloved tool of anti-tax advocates to keep property taxes low. Last year, more towns’ voters rejected override proposals than accepted them. It was the first year that had happened in a decade.

-- John C. Drake


The Boston Globe
Monday, March 18, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007
Barbara Anderson: a brief history lesson


Barbara Anderson helped pass Proposition 2˝ 27 years ago, and she remains the leading anti-tax activist in the state through her group, Citizens for Limited Taxation.

She wrote an op-ed for the Globe at the 25 year mark. This week, we asked her to give us a quick history the season's tax increase campaigns begin.

Here's Barbara:

"In 1980, Massachusetts voters were outraged about property taxes and legislative inaction in addressing them. So using the state constitution’s initiative petition process, Citizens for Limited Taxation placed a question on the ballot that voters passed 59-41.

"The constitution requires all property to be assessed at full and fair market value. Proposition 2 ˝ cut property taxes to 2.5% of that market value, and limited the increase in the property tax levy to 2.5% a year in each community. It also cut the auto excise from $66 to $25 per thousand and created a rental deduction which has since been capped.

"To help communities live with the limit, Prop 2˝ forbade future unfunded state mandates. The legislature later excluded the education reform bill from that provision, requiring a certain amount to be spent on education. Spending per pupil in Massachusetts is 7th highest in the nation, despite charges that voters don’t care about "the children".

"If a community wants more than Prop 2˝ allows, it can place a question on the ballot for voters to override the limit. This must be done at a local election, not town meeting. It was intended as a safety net in case of emergency, but voters have passed overrides for operating expenses, driving up fixed costs.

"While unable to mandate new local aid, Prop 2˝ led to legislative support for more revenue sharing. Unfortunately, that money is also sometimes used to increase fixed costs with their pensions and health care liabilities.

"Prop 2˝ is a statute that can be repealed or drastically amended by the Legislature. For 16 years taxpayers were protected by Republican governors’ promised vetoes. With property taxes still too high, we must preserve it or the special interest groups will try to make up for 27 years of lost unlimited spending time."


NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml


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