and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

The following message was sent to Governor Patrick
and to all state legislators.
It was also sent as a news release to newspapers, radio and TV stations across the state.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Governor, please veto the proposed sales tax hike


The Honorable Deval Patrick, Governor


Citizens for Limited Taxation


June 24, 2009

Dear Governor Patrick,

Please veto the sales tax increase, as you said you would if you didn’t get substantial pension, transportation and ethics reform.

Veto it also because raising the sales tax rate is a bad economic move for the Commonwealth, because the revenues won’t be enough to deal with the Massachusetts structural deficit anyhow, and could make it worse.

Please don’t be influenced by proponents complaining that “the sales tax hasn’t been raised in decades.”  The sales tax automatically increases as prices increase, which they have over that period.  Please believe that an increase in the rate to which taxpayers are accustomed will send them elsewhere to shop.

We appreciate your efforts for Reform:  This is the only thing that will save the commonwealth and its cities and towns from years of irresponsible behavior.  If you stand firm you will be responsible for that salvation.

But “pension reform” that simply ends the most outrageous scams isn’t the kind of reform that will make a fiscal difference (though it certainly makes us feel better to be ripped off less).  “Transportation reform” allows us to be still ripped off by employees who retire after 23 years while we ordinary taxpayers must work at least 40.

Ethics reform hasn’t been as important to CLT since we’ve given up on political ethics.  Usually ethics bills just inconvenience honest people, while the professional pols get around them.  But good for you for still trying!

We have found the legislative criticism that “the governor hasn’t filed a bill” a tad odd.  We thought we understood the basic separation-of-powers thing:  Executive branch executes, Legislative branch legislates, Executive branch eventually urges the Legislature to do its job when it hasn’t.  They should have been responsible bill filers for the many years many of them were there, before you even came on the scene.  Geez, doesn’t the whining drive you crazy?  Honestly, we at CLT are beginning to identify with you, Governor!

Except for the Republicans, Treasurer Cahill and a handful of Democrats, you are the only one on Beacon Hill who speaks to Massachusetts taxpayers’ ongoing frustration not only with the cost of government here, but its ongoing failures.  We appreciate the understanding.

According to the Washington DC-based Tax Foundation, Massachusetts’ state and local tax burden per capita is 5th highest in the country.  Many people voted for you because you pledged property tax relief, which we clearly are not going to get.  So at least, Governor Patrick, don’t raise our sales tax and increase our tax burden.  Veto, please.

Barbara Anderson
Executive Director

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